Jurgens & Co

Margarine, a staple in many households today, traces its origins back to a pivotal moment in French history. In response to Napoleon III's quest for an affordable substitute to butter for both French workers and military personnel during the Franco-Prussian War, Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès, a French chemist, concocted the first margarine in 1869. This groundbreaking creation blended beef tallow with milk, offering a viable alternative to butter. However, it was the Dutch entrepreneurs at Jurgens & Co. who recognized its potential and propelled its widespread adoption.

Antoon Jurgens, the visionary founder of Jurgens & Co., established the company in 1867. Recognizing the value of Mège-Mouriès' invention, Jurgens acquired the patents and rights to margarine in 1871, setting the stage for its mass production. By 1908, production at Antoon Jurgens United had reached an impressive 50,000 tons, firmly establishing the company as a major player in the margarine industry.

In a strategic move to further expand its reach, Antoon Jurgens United entered into a profit-sharing arrangement with Van den Bergh's in 1908. This partnership, formed by Samuel van den Bergh, another luminary in the industry, proved instrumental in the company's growth. Both companies, based in Oss, Netherlands, shared a common vision for the future of margarine production.

The expansion of Jurgens and Van den Bergh's operations wasn't confined to the Netherlands. In 1917, they established factories in England, including one in Purfleet, Essex. Over the years, these facilities underwent several expansions, indicative of the burgeoning demand for their products. By 1959, the Purfleet factory alone boasted a workforce of 1,000 employees, producing not only margarine but also processed cheese and soft drinks under the Stork brand.

By the late 1920s, Jurgens had solidified its presence across the British Isles, with margarine factories sprouting in Scotland, Ireland, and England. This geographical expansion propelled Jurgens into the echelons of Europe's largest butter and margarine businesses.

The trajectory of Jurgens & Co. took a transformative turn in 1927 when it merged with another prominent player, sparking the creation of Margarine Unie. Three years later, in 1930, Margarine Unie joined forces with Lever Brothers to form the conglomerate known today as Unilever. This pivotal merger not only reshaped the landscape of the margarine industry but also laid the groundwork for Unilever's emergence as a global powerhouse in consumer goods.

In conclusion, the story of Jurgens & Co. is a testament to the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that drove the evolution of margarine from a humble invention to a ubiquitous household staple. Through strategic partnerships, technological innovation, and visionary leadership, Jurgens cemented its legacy as a pioneer in the margarine industry, leaving an indelible mark on the world of food production.
Jurgens & Co

5 Most Popular Posts

Business and financial news - CNNMoney.com