The Story of Frontier Soups
The Family Business of Soup
Soup has always been part of family life for the Andersons. Growing up, company founder Trisha Anderson was intrigued by her Mom’s ability to create delicious pots of soup from odds and ends left over from the week’s meals. Trisha transformed her love for culinary adventure into a career as a caterer and cooking school instructor, developing her own innovative recipes. At a friend’s suggestion, she packaged the dry ingredients for her popular 11-bean soup to sell at a holiday market. The soup’s immediate success was the catalyst for Frontier Soups, which–30 years later–is an established name in the specialty food industry with 36 soup mixes sold throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Frontier Soups began as a home-based business in 1983, so Trisha’s children and the business literally grew up together, making soup as much a part of their family tradition as it was for Trisha and her mom. Now, as Frontier Soups continues to demonstrate strong growth and market penetration, Trisha’s two sons have joined the business. Complementing Trisha’s culinary wizardry with new product development, Matt and Jon brings the strength and initiative of the younger generation and strong business backgrounds to lead Frontier Soups’ evolution to its next level of growth–keeping soup an important part of family life for a third generation of Andersons.
Our company's initial success grew out of a single initial product: Minnesota Heartland Soup. It is an eleven-bean soup, and was introduced to consumers at a holiday boutique as a favor to a friend who needed a food item amongst all the jewelry, crafts and clothing. The response was overwhelming and the business was launched!
Adding one or two new soups a year and expanding the business nationwide through a network of holiday markets, the business soon outgrew the family's basement in 1990 and now four moves later occupies a 25,000 sq. ft. facility in Gurnee, IL.
About the Founder, Trisha Anderson
Trisha Anderson, the company's founder and president, graduated from college with a degree in English literature, but transformed a life-long love of cooking into a career in the food industry. She is solely responsible for the creation of all new recipes, a process that varies from an overnight brainstorm to many months of ingredient testing and recipe verification.
“I had no intention of ever starting a business,” explains Trisha Anderson, President of Frontier Soups, whose sales now number in the millions. Not bad for someone who never thought she’d one day run her own company.
Trisha got her start when she came to the rescue of a friend who was organizing a local holiday market. “She knew that I had done some catering and was curious if I had a ‘product,’” says Trisha. “I told her that I had this bean soup mix that might work.” So off Trisha went to the show with 275 hand-packaged bags of soup and her card table. “We had samples for people to try and a little sign that said ‘Dinner for 10-12 for $6.’ The soup was a hit, especially with the men. We sold out the first night,” remembers Trisha.
And thus Frontier Soups was born. With the first three soups, Minnesota Heartland 11 Bean, Dakota Territory Beef Barley Bean, and Illinois Prairie Corn Chowder, packed into cartons in the back of her van along with her crock pot, ladle and apron, Trisha took to the road in 1983, traveling a little circuit of holiday markets from Milwaukee to Detroit and back to Chicago.
Success Starts in the Kitchen
While Frontier Soups creations today are manufactured at their commercial facility, Trisha still finds inspiration for them in her home kitchen. “Cooking is recreation for me. My mother was an inventive cook. She’d go to the refrigerator and make dinner from whatever was there. It was always delicious but never the same,” Trisha says. “When I get home from work, I like to see what I can dream up for dinner—and this carries over to the business.”
“People need easy meal ideas, but they want to eat healthy and delicious food as well. By adding just a couple of fresh or pantry ingredients, you get a simply satisfying meal in about an hour,” Trisha says. “Our packaging allows customers to see the beauty of the all-natural ingredients—they recognize the quality of the product.”
When asked what the key to her success has been, Trisha answers without hesitation. “I started with something I knew and loved—cooking. And we grew the business slowly, careful not to take on more risk than we were sure we could handle.” Comforting advice from the reigning queen of comfort food. Soup’s on.
From hearty bean soups to chili, chowders and more delicate varieties, Frontier Soups offers soup for all seasons and every appetite! All ingredients are of the finest quality and contain no salt, MSG or preservatives. The mixes are available in fine specialty food stores, the natural sets of many major retail grocery chains, as well as direct order from the company.