THE EARLY YEARS
In the 1930’s as America and the rest of the world were crawling out of the worst recession in history, Arden F. Reisenbigler was putting together his future in milk proteins.
In June 1938, with the purchase of a casein manufacturing plant he named The Erie Casein Dryers, Mr. Reisenbigler launched a company and a career which decades later would have an outreach around the world.
In the early years, ERIE domestically manufactured casein in Erie, Illinois and supplied caseins best suited for industrial applications– adhesives, buttons, combs, billiard balls and the like where casein was used as a raw material. Casein also found niches in paints, textiles, rubber, whitewashes and paper coatings.
The domestic manufacture of casein was abruptly halted in the late 1940’s when the U.S. government established the dairy support program. ERIE’s manufacturing efforts then shifted to Australia, where a joint processing venture was initiated with a plant which later became part of Murray Goulburn Cooperative Co. Ltd., a relationship which continues today.
Casein’s status was markedly elevated in the 1950’s with USDA standards for edible caseins. This higher profile made casein a major player in ingredients for the rapidly developing market in processed foods. Given the name ECCO Brand, ERIE’s caseins contributed many functional properties which improved formulations for bakery, cheese, dairy products and comminuted meats.
ERIE’s caseins contributed many functional properties which improved formulations for bakery, cheese, dairy products and comminuted meats.
ERIE gained further market share in the 1960’s with domestic facilities designed to convert caseins into caseinates. Far more soluble than casein, caseinates led the charge into new markets including coffee creamers, whipped toppings, frozen desserts, dietary supplements and pharmaceutical preparations.
POSITIVE CHANGES THROUGHOUT OUR
In the early 1970’s, ERIE established ERIE AG Switzerland to purchase milk proteins directly from producers in Europe. Further global expansion was achieved with joint ventures in Australia, Ireland, Sweden and Denmark.
The 1980’s were a pivotal growth period for ERIE with the construction of a research and manufacturing facility in Rochelle, Illinois. Rochelle’s proximity to O’Hare International Airport and major interstate rail and highway networks gives ERIE the advantage of a central United States manufacturing location. ERIE/ Rochelle with its “Superior” rating from the American Institute of Baking, produces a wide range of ingredients for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
In 1992, ERIE established Intermix Australia, an alliance formed with Mitsubishi Japan, to extend its global outreach to Australia, Asia and the Pacific Rim. Manufacturing at Intermix is focused on infant formulas, premixes for bakery, ice cream and confectionery and a variety of blends incorporating coffee/milk, wheat flour, cocoa, sugar, caramel and dairy ingredients.
In 2002 MGC became a shareholder in Intermix alongside ErieFoods International Inc and Mitsubishi Japan.
The 1990’s also saw increased tonnages in imports driving further expansion in processing capabilities for caseins, caseinates and whey proteins at both the Erie and Rochelle manufacturing locations. At the same time, leading food companies in North America worked with ERIE to manufacture a variety of agglomerated products for their private label businesses.
In 2001, Eriefoods International Inc with Charles MINOUX, specialists of the dairy industry, joined force and established ERIE EUROPE in Paris, France as a subsidiary company to explore new venture opportunities and coordinate manufacturing and marketing functions for Erie Foods and its affiliated companies in strategic locations around the world. Erie Europe focused on Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia, where it could successfully adpat the values of Erie respecting the regional specificities of the markets.
Rapidly, Erie Europe emerged as a leading player in the world market of the dairy ingredient.