- The history of the company began with José Batista Sobrinho, known as Zé Mineiro, who used to buy cattle in Anápolis, State of Goiás, to resell them to meat packing plants.
- In 1953, he opened a butcher shop called Casa de Carne Mineira and acquired a deeper knowledge about weight and prices of cattle.
- A month later, due to the quality of his products, he became the exclusive marchante (professional who slaughters and sells cattle for butcher shops) in Anápolis.
- In 1957, with the planned construction of Brasília capital city, Zé Mineiro saw an opportunity to expand the business.
- He set up one the first slaughterhouses of the region with the help of five employees.
- They began to slaughter 25 to 30 head of cattle per day and supply beef to the construction companies that were building the future capital.
- In 1962, Zé Mineiro leased a slaughterhouse in Luziânia, 50 km from Brasília, and increased his production to approximately 55 animals per day. He then started to sell the products to the newly established butcher shops in the city.
- In 1969, Formosa Industrial Slaughterhouse was acquired. This investment boosted the slaughter capacity from 40 to 120 head of cattle per day just in this plant.
- In this same year Zé decided to find a name for his company and Mário Nassiute, an equipment supplier and friend, came up with the name Friboi. Intending to leave the killing plant and enter the meat packing industry, Zé accepted the suggestion.
- To strengthen the company's identity, a logo was created in 1970 by Wilson, a Catalan painter. In 1997 the company started to export fresh beef.
- Barra do Garças Plant in the State of Mato Grosso was acquired by Frigorifico Mouran located in Andradina, State of São Paulo, which exercised a call option and closed the deal in 1999. The city became a landmark of business expansion in the State of São Paulo.
- In 2000, Friboi created an innovative truck fleet with capacity to carry 42 animals per truck, enabling the company to increase its production and maintain the quality and characteristics of the product during its distribution.
- In 2003, Andradina Transportation Company was set up under the Group's Transportation Division.
- In 2005, the Group acquired Swift Argentina and became the first Brazilian multinational company in the meat sector.
- In 2006, it ceased to be a limited liability company to become a corporation. The Group changed its corporate name to JBS, the initials of the founder José Batista Sobrinho, and Friboi began to designate one of the company's brands.
- March 2007 represented a milestone for JBS in the Brazilian Stock Exchange. It was the first company of the meat packing sector to go public. In July 2007, it acquired 100% of the American Swift Foods & Company (plants in the USA and Australia) and became the largest meat packing company in slaughter capacity (47,100 head/day) and the largest Brazilian multinational in the food processing sector, currently providing more than 40,000 jobs worldwide.