The company's major business units include Schwan's Home Service, Schwan's Global Consumer Brands, Schwan's Food Service, and Schwan's Global Supply Chain.
Schwan's Home Service, the company's flagship business unit, is the largest direct-to-home food delivery provider in the United States. Home Service markets and distributes more than 400 products under the Schwan's and LiveSmart brands. The business has nearly 500 sales-and-distribution centers located throughout the nation with 6,700 propane and diesel-powered delivery vehicles.
Schwan's Global Consumer Brands is a holding company for the various Schwan business that market frozen foods in grocery stores throughout the United States and Europe. Schwan's Food Service is a holding company that markets and distributes frozen food products to the food service industry. Schwan's Global Supply Chain is a manufacturing cooperative that coordinates the company's production processes, and helps develop new and exciting ideas.
In 1952, Marvin Schwan began home delivery of his family's homemade ice cream to rural western Minnesota. Schwan's expanded quickly to cover much of the Midwestern United States and made a number of acquisitions, including the Holiday Ice Cream Company and Russell Dairy. In 1957, the product line was expanded to include juice concentrates, and in 1962 Schwan's began selling frozen fish products.
During the 1970s, the company began selling pizza to schools, launched the Red Baron pizza brand for sale in grocery stores, and formed the Red Baron Squadron flight team to promote the brand. During the 1980s, Schwan's made further acquisitions, including pizza manufacturer Sabatasso Foods and Asian-foods manufacturer Minh Food Corporation. Schwan's opened a plant in Leyland, Preston, England in 1989. In 1993, founder Marvin Schwan died of a heart attack at the age of 64. His older brother, Alfred Schwan, who had been company's head of manufacturing, was named president. Marvin Schwan Memorial Drive in Marshall is named after him.
In October 1994, the Minnesota Department of Health informed the Schwan Food Company that 67 people in southern Minnesota had been infected with salmonella enteritidis and that there was a strong statistical link between the illnesses and Schwan's ice cream. Schwan quickly halted the production and sale of the company's ice cream and began a public-awareness campaign asking people not to eat Schwan's ice cream products. An investigation found that the source of the contamination was a contractor's truck that had delivered ice cream premix to Schwan. The trucking company had inadequately washed the tanker truck after transporting raw, unpasteurized eggs. Schwan's actions in response to the recall were unconventional at the time and have since been imitated by companies facing recalls.
In 1996, Schwan's introduced the Freschetta pizza line and acquired La Roue du Pay d'auge, a frozen foods producer in France. In 1998, Schwan's opened a pizza plant in Osterweddingen, Germany. In 2001, Schwan acquired the Edwards dessert company, and in 2003, the Mrs. Smith's dessert company. Also in 2003, the corporation changed its name from Schwan's Sales Enterprises to The Schwan Food Company.
Recently, the Schwan Food Company began to focus on convenience of meals at affordable prices under their new "Prepared To Serve" tagline.
Red Baron Squadron
The Red Baron Squadron was established in 1979 as a promotion for Red Baron Pizza. The squadron flew vintage Stearman biplanes and was the oldest civilian air team in the United States. They attend airshows throughout the country and fly formation aerobatics. Their base of operations and air museum was at the Southwest Minnesota Regional Airport in Marshall, Minnesota. In 2007, after 28 years of flying, the company announced the retirement of the squadron.