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11 Food Product Icons You Never Knew Were Based on Real People

Updated: Jul. 27, 2021

There is more behind the name than delicious food.

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Captain Morgan

The icon behind this popular rum is the welsh sailor Sir Henry Morgan. He was well-known for defending the British by raiding Spanish ships and towns. He took it a little too far after a peace treaty was signed with Spain and ended up in prison. After he was released he became a knight and was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica. Here are 13 foods that were invented by accident.

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jimmy dean

Jimmy Dean

Before getting into the sausage game, Jimmy Dean was a well-known actor, TV star, and country singer. Then, in 1969, he and his brother founded the Jimmy Dean Sausage Company. He eventually sold the company, but continued to star in their commercials for many years.

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Mrs. Fields

This delicious line of baked goods is named after Debbie Fields. She and her husband, Randall, opened a bakery together in 1977. Her cookies became a huge success, and Mrs. Fields decided to franchise and then sold her company while still staying on as the spokesperson. Here’s how 8 famous fast-food restaurants got their names. 

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Oscar Mayer

German immigrant, Oscar Mayer, opened a butcher shop with his brother in Chicago that became instantly popular. They became one of the first companies to pass the USDA’s new meat inspection grades, and because of that, grew even more.

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Dave Thomas opened the first ever Wendy’s in 1969, naming it after his daughter Melinda Lou. When she was little, she had trouble pronouncing her name and would say “Wenda” instead of Melinda. Her nickname became Wendy, which inspired the name Wendy’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers. These are surprising things fast-food workers won’t tell you.

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Chef Boyardee

Chef Boyardee was a real man. His full name was Ettore Boiardi. He was an Italian immigrant who eventually saved enough money to open his own restaurant in Cleveland called Il Giardino d’Italia. It was so popular that he began to sell his famous pasta sauce since customers were constantly asking for the recipe. He changed the name to Boyardee since it was easier to pronounce.

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Joseph A. Campbell teamed up with Abraham Anderson in 1869 to start a beefsteak tomato canning and preserving company. Campbell bought the whole company from Anderson in 1891 and worked with a chemist to make the perfect condensed soup. In 1897, they released many different types, including their famous tomato soup.

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Famous Amos

After going to school for cooking, Wally Amos worked hard to perfect his aunt’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. He worked for a talent agency and would get new clients, including Diana Ross and Simon & Garfunkel, by sending them some of his delicious cookies. In 1975, he opened a cookie shop, and it was an instant hit. Not long after that his cookies started to be sold in supermarkets and are still around today.

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Ben & Jerry’s

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield decided to start a business together in 1977. They originally wanted to open a bagel shop but went with ice cream instead because it was easier. They opened their first store in Burlington, Vermont, because it was the only college town without an ice cream shop. Speaking of, this is why you’ll never find grape ice cream.

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Marie Callender

Don Callender started a business selling pies based off of his mom’s homemade recipes and named the company after her. Marie would bake the pies and then Don would deliver them to local restaurants. Marie Callender pies and other frozen dishes can still be found in the frozen section of the grocery store.

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Orville Redenbacher

You probably already know this delicious popcorn is named after a real person because his face is on every box, but the story of how he built this famous brand of popcorn is interesting. He starting growing popping corn on his parents’ farm when he was 12. He sold enough of it to pay for college where he learned how to make a hybrid corn that would pop up lighter and fluffier. He perfected his hybrid in 1965 and sold it to the mass market. Next, check out the 12 foods you never knew were illegal in the U.S. 

Sources: mentalfloss.com, aol.com