Worthington Foods, Inc., has grown from a tiny manufacturer of specialty foods into a leader of the U.S. markets for vegetarian foods and meat alternatives. The business traces its heritage to 1939, when Dr. George T. Harding III founded Special Foods in Worthington, Ohio. Harding established Special Foods to supply vegetarian foods to his father’s nearby sanitarium (health spa). With companies like Michigan’s Battle Creek Foods Company, Tennessee’s Madison Foods, and California’s Loma Linda Foods as models, Harding, his wife Mary Virginia, and four other investors bought and refurbished a fire-damaged house and started production in 1939.

Special Foods’ early products were fashioned after “nut meats,” first concocted by Dr. John Kellogg, the first Adventist to become a medical doctor. They combined roasted peanuts with gluten (derived from flour) and seasonings to form meatless, yet high-protein main courses like PROAST, a substitute for dark meat, and NUMETE, a substitute for light meat.

Worthington Foods was aquired by Heritage Health Food in 2016, and continues to innovate and grow in the vegetarian food industry.

Worthington is committed to producing high quality, vegetarian products to promote healthful living. Aspiring to be the “World’s Best!”, Worthington seeks to expand the options for those pursuing a meatless, plant based lifestyle and satisfy the tastebuds of all who partake.

Primary focus
Business model
Protein category
Meat fish analogs
End product application

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