Herb Lotman, Philadelphia food industry entrepreneur who founded Keystone Foods, dies at 80

PHILADELPHIA – Food industry entrepreneur Herb Lotman, founder of Keystone Foods, one of the world’s largest food companies, has died at age 80.

Lotman died Thursday at a suburban Philadelphia hospital from complications of heart failure, said his son, Jeff Lotman.

Herb Lotman, a Philadelphia native, began his career in the food industry with his family’s wholesale beef business.

In the late 1960s, he and his partners pioneered cryogenics for McDonald’s and developed a mass-production system for making frozen hamburgers.

Lotman built Keystone Foods over 40 years to a company generating more than $5 billion in sales annually. Keystone opened operations in more than 15 countries and was rated 45th on Forbes’ list of America’s largest private companies in 2010.

Lotman served on the boards of organizations including the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, The Children’s Cancer Research Foundation and most recently the Prince Music Theater.

He also co-founded the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, a major women’s professional golf association tournament, which directly benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities. The event has raised more than $48 million for the charities in the 29 years since its inauguration, making it the largest fundraiser in golf.

Lotman also is survived by his wife, a daughter, a sister and several grandchildren.