As a workers’ compensation insurer, we’ve had a front-row seat to companies in all sectors, each demonstrating their staying power in remarkable ways.
Durkee-Mower, an A.I.M. Mutual policyholder, is no stranger to persevering through tough times. Through the Great Depression, World War II, and a pandemic, their operations have kept going, all to bring us a global staple: Marshmallow Fluff®.
And when it comes to comfort foods, let’s all agree: Fluff tops the list.
Family run since 1920, the company outlasted most of its competitors using a recipe that hasn’t changed in 100 years. As for its most frequently asked question, the answer is no—they don’t lay claim to inventing the peanut butter-and-crème combo. On the other hand, the Fluffernutter brand is all theirs, thanks to a hugely successful 1960 marketing campaign.
In Massachusetts, Durkee-Mower is practically a household name; its single manufacturing facility is located just north of Boston in Lynn. Demand for Marshmallow Fluff® is worldwide, with Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, South Africa, Belgium, and the UAE forming just some of their international market.
Long known for its focus on workplace safety, Durkee-Mower chose a novel partnership approach to workers’ compensation in 1989 when A.IM. Mutual first opened its doors.
“Durkee-Mower has been with A.I.M. Mutual since the beginning,” said Jonathan Durkee, the fourth in his family to serve as president of Durkee-Mower. “We were part of MEIE, which, in turn, became A.I.M. Mutual. Over those many years, A.I.M. Mutual has been a terrific partner to work with, helping us with varying situations. They have saved us countless dollars.”
Cost savings is just one benefit of hands-on workers’ compensation management, which Durkee-Mower recognized early on. They make special note of their “super clean” manufacturing plant, but ultimately credit their employees, who are dedicated to quality. Safety is paramount, and if accidents happen, the A.I.M. Vantage occupational health team immediately responds, helping to manage care and bring the injured employee back to work.
“We feel our employees are our most valuable asset and wouldn’t trust their welfare to anybody else,” Jon Durkee said.
Equally crucial are loss prevention measures. Glenn Severance, Injury Prevention & Worksite Wellness Consultant, regularly provides safety materials, resources, and updates to Paul Walker, Durkee-Mower’s longtime VP of Manufacturing.
Every conceivable measure is taken to protect the purity of Marshmallow Fluff®, according to Paul. He points out that Durkee-Mower takes pride in using fresh ingredients with no additives in its batch process, the only marshmallow crème made this way.
Not much has changed in the product composition, aside from changing from granular to liquid sugar. It’s essentially the same Fluff recipe H. Allen Durkee and Fred Mower purchased from Archibald Query, who perfected the formula in his kitchen in 1917. Following the First World War, Mr. Query sold it to the two men, who pooled their $500 savings to embark on this new venture. Durkee-Mower was soon under way, gradually adding to its staff to meet the growing demand. By 1929, they had a team of 10.
That “formula” has remained a trade secret throughout the decades. Marshmallow Fluff® is an ingredient in so many recipes that Durkee-Mower continues to update its Online Yummy Book, still a popular download. Favorites include the Marshmallow Treat®, which made its debut in 1966 following a collaboration with the Kellogg Company® using their Rice Krispies® cereal product.
Today, Durkee-Mower employs 23 people, who all ensure the product’s integrity. The company made forays into other products—such as Sweeco, an instant sweet milk cocoa—but they were short lived. Some Fluff variations are produced to meet custom requests from certain states or countries whose populations prefer strawberry, raspberry, or sometimes a completely unique flavor blend.
In fact, A.I.M. Mutual’s Glenn Severance recalls a service team visit to the plant, pre-pandemic, when everyone was invited to sample a specialty Fluff product earmarked for overseas, where people regularly add a spoonful to their coffee. The consensus? This version is an acquired taste!
By all accounts, the original, just like Durkee-Mower itself, broke the mold.
The evolution of Marshmallow Fluff® is well documented on Durkee-Mower’s website.
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