Joseph and Adriana VanEekeren founded the Vanee Foods Company on February 1, 1950. Their first product was oven-roasted sliced beef in a rich beef gravy, which they packaged in frozen tubs and sold to taverns and restaurants around Chicago.
An owner of a Chicago-based distributorship frequented a tavern that served Vanee’s roasted beef in gravy. He tracked down Joseph and asked if he was willing to pack the product in cans for sale through foodservice distribution. Joseph invested $75 in canning equipment and put Vanee Foods in the shelf-stable entrée business.
In 1976, Joseph and Adriana sold the Vanee Foods Company to their two sons, Al and Ron. Under their leadership, Vanee Foods grew to include custom formulations for national restaurant chains and shelf-stable products for the U.S. military. They also took advantage of their meat-roasting expertise and expanded into a new soup base operation.
Now with six third-generation family members actively involved in the business, the Vanee Foods Company continues to focus on canned entrees and gravies, dry blends and soup bases for national chain restaurants, distributor private labels and contract manufacturing.