The National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association (NFRA) established the NFRA Refrigerated Food Hall of Fame in 2010 to honor individuals for the contributions they have made and the leadership they have provided to the Refrigerated Food Industry. Three committed individuals: the late Harry Hussmann, founder of the Hussmann Patented Refrigerated Meat Display case and Hussmann Refrigerator Company; Nevin B. Montgomery, retired president of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association; and the late L.B. (Lively) Willoughby, patented inventor of the refrigerated biscuit dough will be recipients of this year’s prestigious award.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Convention during the Grand Awards Banquet on Tuesday, October 22, 2013, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel.
Harry Hussmann was inspired to start his own business in April 1906, opening the Harry L. Hussmann Butchers’ Supply Company in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1917, Hussmann patented the food industry’s first refrigerated meat display case. After construction of a new manufacturing plant two years later, the Hussmann Patented Refrigerator Display case was sold to meat dealers, delicatessens and restaurants. In 1927, Hussmann worked with Frigidaire Corporation, introducing the Frigidaire-Equipped Hussmann Patented Freezer Display Case. In 1928, he sold his shares of the Hussmann Refrigerator Company and passed away in 1949. Today, Hussmann’s entrepreneurial butcher supply company is one of the world’s largest producers of the refrigeration systems and merchandising display cases for the food industry. Hussmann’s innovations are acclaimed as crucial elements in the development of the modern supermarket.
Nevin B. Montgomery is the former President/CEO of the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association. Montgomery joined the organization as Director of Membership in 1973 when it was the National Frozen Food Association (NFFA). Over his 36 years with the association, he served as Director of Education, Vice President, Executive Vice President and was named President in 1984 until his retirement in 2010. With Montgomery’s keen fiscal management, excellent investment strategies, and plan for increasing membership, member services and revenue streams, the association thrived. Under his leadership, NFFA launched the first National Frozen Food Month in 1984, establishing the association’s promotional focus and success that continues today. Embracing a changing industry, Montgomery spearheaded the incorporation of refrigerated dairy into the association. In 2001, the organization became the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, and the first June Dairy Month promotion was launched as refrigerated dairy became an integral part of the association.
L.B. (Lively) Willoughby from Louisville, KY was 50 years old when he developed the concept of refrigerated biscuit dough and became the holder of the patent for the process back in 1931. He made up the dough, cut it into biscuits, packaged them in foil, put them in an Epsom salts can, and glued lids on both ends. The biscuits were marketed as Ye Old Kentucky Buttermilk Biscuits for about six months, and the biscuits were still fresh one week later after packaging. Willoughby then joined forces with Ballard & Ballard Co. and developed its own line of products under the Ballard brand. In 1951, Pillsbury bought Ballard & Ballard Co. and expanded the product line, using Willoughby’s process. The shelf life of the product was consistently increased, and today the shelf life of refrigerated biscuits is two to three months. Pillsbury now has more than 80 products in the refrigerated baked goods category.