Custom Food Processing Equipment and Systems


Volume 40, No. 10

It was quite a surprise to hear a conservative talk show host comment that “trickledown theory” had never worked.  This surprise was personal.  Gem Equipment is a longtime beneficiary of trickle down.  Your writer’s definition of this theory is that not only lower class, but also the middle class, benefit financially from the success of the upper class. Trickledown was in place for Gem’s founders before this company was established.  In the early 1960’s both founders had management positions in General Foods Birdseye Division’s Woodburn plant.  These trickledown positions were made possible by Clarence Birdseye’s founding of the frozen food processing industry.  Benefits from these positions continued for us after leaving Birdseye.  Gem Equipment’s first order was for an engineering evaluation of General Food’s Australian frozen food operation.
As noted above, trickledown presumes that rich people will spend some of their money for goods and services produced by less wealthy people.  Development of the frozen french fry potato processing industry is a good example of how this works.  Jack Simplot was well fixed financially when he met Ray Kroc, who was part owner of two McDonalds restaurants.  Ray Kroc’s vision for McDonalds was expansion.  Part of this would be accomplished by franchising the brand.  During World War Two, Jack Simplot had built processing plants to produce dehydrated potatoes which became an ingredient for k-rations consumed by soldiers who did not have access to mess halls.  After the war, these plants had very little business.  K-rations were the last food desired by returning war veterans.  Producing frozen french fries for McDonalds provided a use for these plants.  Jack Simplot’s potato plants and Ray Kroc’s restaurants were prosperous.
Jack Simplot and Ray Kroc were not the only beneficiary’s of this prosperity.  The amount of wealth created for employees, farmers, franchisees and suppliers dwarfs that realized by Simplot and Kroc.  The employment they created does not stop with french fry potato processors.  Farmers, franchisees and suppliers all have employees.  It would be interesting to know the total number of jobs generated by trickledown from french fry potato processors.  This number is huge.  Why don’t more people understand the function of trickledown in a free market economy?  Maybe the trickledown detractors do not understand the requirements a person has to meet to become a recipient.  The recipient has to be involved with production of goods and/or services wanted by the free market.  Without government influence, trickle down is not available for those who do not enter the workforce or produce a good or service to take advantage of free market opportunities.

Aside from income, there is one huge advantage for those who participate in the free market economy.  It is pride of accomplishment, a large factor for Gem Equipment.  Almost, if not all, company personnel working for Gem are proud of the processing equipment manufactured by this company.  This is huge for this type of operation.  Engineers and production workers who are proud of their work take responsibility for their contribution to the finished product.  No amount of quality control and management attention can make up lack of concern by the person performing the job.  Funds trickle down, pride of accomplishment pushes up.