Our History

Mercer Foods Building ExteriorMercer Foods has a rich history deeply rooted in California’s Bay Area and Central Valley. Mercer Processing was founded in Palo Alto in 1980 by Jim Mercer, an inventor and cryogenic engineer. Earlier in his career, Jim Mercer was the Chief Development Engineer for a coffee company where he developed the continuous equipment and process that is still used today to dry coffee into crystals.

When this company moved their manufacturing to Europe, Mercer purchased one of the pilot plants, including the drying equipment he developed, and founded Mercer Processing. Initially, Mercer Processing provided ingredients for dry soup manufacturers, army rations and confection companies.

After 15 years of growth at his namesake company and a career devoted to cryogenic innovation, Jim Mercer passed in 1995. The company continued to grow under the leadership of Mercer’s daughter and son-in-law, and in 1998 Mercer Processing was relocated to Modesto, California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley. Now known as Mercer Foods, the company grew exponentially during the first decade of the 2000s. A global sourcing process was implemented to ensure the company was producing the highest-quality goods, and Mercer Foods continues to value these longstanding supplier relationships around the world. What began as an ingredient processing strategy was positioned for further expansion into the retail channel, and later the foodservice channel as well.

Mercer Foods has always prided itself as being a leader in the freeze-drying industry and strives to grow with its customers. Some of our most exciting developments in the past decade include:

  • 2011: Packaging capabilities added to its suite of offerings with the purchase of Mamata packaging line
  • 2013: Mercer doubled its freeze-drying capacity with the purchase of additional drying tunnels to enable scalability as freeze-drying grew in popularity
  • 2015: The Flavor Lock ™ technology, a proprietary process that ensures the highest quality freeze-dried product in the world, was developed and trademarked
  • 2016: Additional high-end packaging equipment was installed
  • 2019: Mercer led the charge of a major expansion initiative, adding new equipment to enable 40% additional freeze-drying capacity

Today, Mercer holds 47 U.S. and foreign patents in freeze-drying technology and is considered a pioneer in the field. 2020 marks the 40th year that Mercer has led the global freeze-dried industry in quality and innovation, and we never rest. The future brings further expansion in packaging as well as a global expansion of our Research and Development team and drying capabilities, with the addition of processing facilities throughout the world.

To discuss how freeze-drying can benefit your business and products, reach out to a Mercer freeze-drying expert here.