3 Generations of Real


We are three generations of cheese innovators, cheese eaters and cheese lovers. We’re Real Cheese People™ through and through. For more than 60 years, Sargento Foods® has been bringing people 100% real, natural cheese. It’s our heritage, our history, our family.

And this is how it all began:

In 1949, inspired by his passion for cheese, Leonard Gentine opened a modest cheese gift store in a small carriage house in Plymouth, Wisconsin. He called it The Plymouth Cheese Counter, and it was here that he noticed a demand for Italian cheeses. Seeing an opportunity to provide something missing from his community inspired a new idea. Leonard approached a neighbor, Joe Sartori, and convinced him to invest money in a new business: selling Italian cheeses to area stores. The two men took the Sar from Sartori, the Gent from Gentine, added an “o” to sound Italian, and the Sargento Cheese Company was born.

Initially, we sold Parmesan, Romano, Mozzarella and Provolone. But that was only the beginning. A born innovator, Leonard was constantly looking for ways to add more convenience to the lives and kitchens of the home chef. In the early 1950s, if a homemaker wanted sliced cheese she would have to cut it herself or rely on the deli counter at the grocery store. Leonard purchased a meat slicer, pushed through blocks of cheese and packaged the slices. Sargento® became the first company to offer packaged sliced cheese, and with that began our unending pursuit of real.

Another example of an important Sargento Cheese Company innovation that changed the industry was shredded cheese. To provide convenience to consumers, Leonard used his training as a machinist to retrofit a pasta machine to cut slices of natural cheese and create the first packaged shredded cheese.

By 1969, Sargento Cheese Corporation was the first company to blend two shredded cheese varieties. Developing varieties such as Shredded Cheese for Pizza and Taco Cheese allowed consumers to create inspired dishes of their own. Today, we continue to innovate with new forms and varieties while staying true to quality and craftsmanship.