It was 1927, and Dorothy Gerber was fed up! Three times a day, every day, she was mashing peas for her infant daughter Sally to eat. Now her husband was rushing her to go to a party, causing her quite a strain.
Dumping a bowl of peas into his lap, Dorothy explained the problem. Seeing a larger societal problem…and an opportunity with sales potential…Dan Gerber went to his father’s cannery to explore the possibilities. As his father fed him information, Dan grew excited.
It COULD work!
Calling on neighborhood women, the Gerbers saw there was a demand for prepared, strained baby foods. Products were tested by feeding neighborhood children. Before long, soup, carrots, prunes, and spinach joined peas on the list.
Seeking to promote their product line, Gerber offered six cans for $1.00, provided the customer also sent in the name of a local grocer. With lists of buyers and grocers in hand, Gerber rolled his line of baby food out nationally.
After one year, almost 600,000 cans of baby food had been sold. The infant company was ready for success.
This was later fully realized as the Baby Boom era brought in sales of one million cans per week. But sales TRULY hit their zenith as television marketing was added into the mix.
Sales volume doubled again to two million cans of baby food each week!
By his death in 1974, Sally Gerber’s father claimed 60% of the strained infant food market, and the company was valued at $5.5 billion when it was sold to Nestlé in 2007.
As of 2017, Gerber controlled 61% of the baby food market in the United States, and was offering almost 200 products in 80 countries, with labeling in 16 languages.
That’s pretty impressive, Baby!