Vitamix: Four Generations of Blending Technology Pioneers

The market leader in blending technology, Vitamix was founded by William Grover “Papa” Barnard, who in 1921 began traveling around the US to sell modern kitchen products. After helping a friend through his illness, Papa started to see the connection between whole food nutrition and health. He renamed his business The Natural Food Institute and became a health food pioneer, teaching people everything he knew about food and health. In 1937, he discovered the blender and realized right away how this new product could prepare healthy and delicious foods quickly and easily. Papa consequently focused his attention on selling blenders, and in 1949, at the suggestion of his son Bill, took his live demonstration to the television set and created the country’s first infomercial.

Bill inherited the business later on and changed the name to Vita-Mix Corporation in 1964. Understanding the benefits of whole foods, he set out to make healthy food preparation even easier and more delicious. As a result, the Vitamix was made more versatile and powerful. The year 1969 saw the debut of the Vitamix 3600, which was the first blender that could make ice cream and hot soup, knead bread dough, and grind grain.

Years later, the third generation of Barnards, brothers John and Grover, used their engineering backgrounds to significantly improve the performance and durability of the Vitamix product line. In the 1980s, they developed the first commercial Vitamix blender. Today, top restaurants and chains around the world use commercial Vitamix machines.

Vitamix is now headed by John’s daughter, Jodi Berg, who became president in 2009. Over the years, the company has won numerous business and industry awards, including being named one of The Plain Dealer’s Top Places to Work in Northeast Ohio (2011), Foodservice Equipment and Supplies magazine’s Overall Best in Class honor (2011), and Kitchen Innovations’ Product Innovation Award (2012).

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