Near East® started in 1962 in Worcester, MA as a small, family-owned company. George and Hannah Kalajian immigrated from Armenia to the United States and set up a grocery store in 1940. Soon after the store opened, Hannah began serving sandwiches and home-cooked hot meals at a twelve stool luncheonette counter adjoining the grocery store. On Wednesdays, Hannah served her specialty: roasted chicken and Armenian-style rice pilaf. A tasty combination of rice, orzo pasta, and seasoning, the pilaf quickly became so popular that Hannah began to package it - filling bags of pilaf mix by hand in her home kitchen. As demand rapidly increased, more help was added and a growing number of food distributors helped to sell the product. Over the years, production moved out of Hannah's kitchen and into modern manufacturing facilities.
Today the Near East® family of products includes more than 30 different flavors and varieties of rice pilafs, couscous, and other grain dishes, all with the same high-quality ingredients, care and handling that Hannah put into the first pilaf. Their easy-to-prepare products offer you a variety of great tastes and authentic flavors from around the world.