Franco-American riddle

June 6, 2016 07:50 – 07:50

Here’s something weird I didn’t know. When I think of Franco-American (the canned food brand), I think of things like canned ravioli and spaghetti & meatballs… Americanized Italian canned food. Yet, Franco means French–not Italian. So, I finally looked up Franco-American, and it turns out that the name DID mean French originally in that brand’s name. From Wikipedia:

“The original Franco-American Food Company was founded by Alphonse Biardot, who immigrated to the United States from France in 1880. In 1886, he and his two sons opened a commercial kitchen in Jersey City, New Jersey, featuring the foods of his native country. The company proved a success, particularly with its line of canned soup and pasta, and it was acquired by Campbell’s in 1915.”

How the brand came to be more closely associated with Italian-esque food seems like an accident. I’d bet that I’m not the only person in my generation who was later surprised to learn that Franco meant French, and not Italian. I’m pretty sure that I never encountered any Franco-American products that were based on French foods, even though the article suggests that the original offerings were in fact French.

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