AMI PROFILE: Kayem Foods Inc.
Kayem Foods, Inc. is a family-owned business, founded in 1909 by Kazimierz Monkiewicz and his wife, Helena, who, after emigrating from Poland, began selling handmade polish kielbasa sausage from a small corner store. As word of the great tasting kielbasa spread, they began delivering to nearby communities via horse-drawn carriage.
When Kazimier and Helena’s sons (Ray, Frank, Walter and Tony) returned from the war, the family converted an abandoned repair shop into their first production plant, and the product line was expanded. In 1969, as the company’s sales grew and production demands began to exceed capacity, the company built a brand-new, state-of-the-art factory at the current site next to the Tobin Bridge in Chelsea, Mass.
Ever the entrepreneurs, the family took the opportunity to get into the distribution business in the 1970s. By 1980, Kayem had become a full-service deli distributor in New England. In later years, the company added a 25,000-square-foot distribution area, a 5,000-square-foot freezer and deep-chill area, and state-of-the-art processing areas for roast beef and hams. In 2000, a 10,000-square-foot addition was built that included a fully modernized production line for frankfurts and sausages, which included a continuous oven that could produce up to 80,000 hot dogs per hour.
Several key acquisitions between 1989 and 2008 cemented Kayem’s position as the New England market leader in natural casing franks. Kayem became the first manufacturer of frankfurts and processed meats in the United States to achieve the internationally recognized ISO 9001 quality designation in 1997.
Amid consolidation in the retail landscape during the early 2000s, Kayem Foods set forth a new direction aimed at growing brands to national prominence. Kayem’s first brand sold outside the New England market was al fresco, which is now the No. 1 gourmet chicken sausage brand in the United States, and was ranked seventh among national brands in the dinner sausage category in 2008. In 2009, Kayem celebrated its 100th anniversary, yet as the company kicks off the next 100 years, Kazimierz’ initials (KM) and likeness continue to live on in the company name and logo, and his values continue to live on in the commitment and dedication to quality at Kayem.
Kayem’s leadership believes the company benefits from membership in the AMI for several reasons, including:
* Connection to an organization that protects the interests of medium-sized family businesses like ours.
* Provides resources for education, networking and access to new customers.
* Creates a platform for interacting with other meat companies and businesses that serve our industry.
Kayem Foods is privately held by the Monkiewicz family.
Natural Casing Franks; Skinless Franks; All Natural Chicken Sausage; Smoked and Fully Cooked Kielbasa and Smoked Sausage; Fresh Italian Sausage and Brats; Fresh Breakfast Sausage; Deli Hams, Roast Beef, Bologna, Loaves and Speciatly Deli Meats, Pot Roast; Bone-in and Boneless Dinner Hams; Ham Steaks; Spiral hams.