Antoon Van Eekeren immigrated to the United States from Holland with dreams of success. He was a visionary who saw the needs of consumers and acted on them. His vision and embrace of technology built a business that has become the largest family-owned brand of packaged deli meat in the U.S.
In 1966, Van Eekeren’s sons, Paul and Henry, took over leadership of the company, and today, Paul’s son David is president. Land O’Frost opened its first lunchmeat manufacturing plant in Lansing, Illinois, in 1969 followed by the purchase of a Birds Eye® vegetable processing plant in Searcy, Arkansas, in 1975 and Leo’s, a California-based company, in 1981. In 2007, the company opened a state-of-the-art processing plant in Madisonville, Kentucky, with the most modern processing and food safety technology the industry had at the time.
The family’s entrepreneurial spirit has continued to grow the Land O’Frost brand nationally, in part because of its emphasis on food safety and people safety. Staying ahead of the curve in these areas is an important part of the Land O’Frost culture, and the company prides itself on delivering quality frozen foods to its customers safely. Its products can be found in supermarkets and mass merchandisers nationwide, as well as in Mexico, Puerto Rico and some U.S. territories.
Delivering food on time and at-temperature is crucial in the foodservice business, so Land O’Frost depends on quality trailers. With a fleet of 51 trucks and 86 Great Dane Everest reefers traveling around the country, the company must have a trailer that meets its needs.
Land O’Frost purchased its first Great Dane trailer in 1996, and for the last 12 years, it has only bought Great Dane trailers.
“We depend on our trailers to haul our chilled and frozen products to our customers. We also deliver our raw materials to our plants, so we transport chilled, frozen and dry materials,” said Mark Brewster, transportation manager at Land O’Frost.
Land O’Frost spec’s its trailer with Whiting ColdSAVER III roll-up doors with aluminum skins to help maintain low temperatures. It also uses E-Track securing rails and heavy-duty reefer cargo Safety-Grip flooring to keep cargo in place. The positive traction Safety-Grip surface helps improve traction for cargo securement and is rated at 20,000 pounds, the highest forklift-rated floor in the industry.
For extra sidewall protection, Land O’Frost spec’s 12-inch PunctureGuard scuffband. “The addition of PunctureGuard has probably been one of the best decisions we have made for our trailer specs,” Brewster said. “Our trailers were being damaged along the sides when forklifts would run a pallet down the side of the trailer, tearing the aluminum scuffband that we used to spec. The PunctureGuard scuffband has made this issue practically nonexistent.”
It’s that kind of thinking that has helped what was once a small regional company to thrive for three generations and grow into a national brand that its customers trust to keep their food safe.
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