The Long, Strange History of Kraft Foods

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Few companies in corporate America have as complicated a history as Kraft Foods, the owner of Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers and Oscar Mayer lunch meats. Today, Kraft announced plans to split up, marking yet another shimmy in its background as a mélange of corporations, including Philip Morris, General Foods and RJR Nabisco.

Here is an annotated guide for how Kraft came to be:

1903: James L. Kraft begins selling cheese from a horse-drawn wagon in Chicago. By 1914, his company begins manufacturing cheese on its own. Over the ensuing decades, Kraft starts or acquires brands including Vegemite, Philadelphia cream cheese, Tombstone pizza and Kraft macaroni and cheese.

1980s: Cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds merges with snack company Nabisco Brands, owner of brands such as Ritz and Oreo, to form RJR Nabisco. Then RJR Nabisco becomes the target of the most legendary corporate raid of all time....

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