Fall River, Massachusetts headquartered Blount Fine Foods, a maker of frozen and chilled soups, entrées and side dishes for foodservice and retail markets in the USA, has purchased an 80,000-square-foot food manufacturing plant in Portland, Oregon. It will be utilized to produce restaurant-quality products, expanding a network of factories that includes one each in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Texas.
The company also announced that it has entered into an agreement with a third-party logistics partner that will provide expanded distribution services across the nation. Meanwhile, two additional sites in Oregon and the Midwest will supplement existing 3PL locations in Taunton, Massachusetts, Fort Worth, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia.
“Market demand for all soups, but especially our premium soups, continues to increase, with flavors, sizes and eating occasions creating more opportunity for our customers,” said Todd Blount, president and chief executive officer of the fifth generation family-owned and operated company. “Adding this facility meaningfully rounds out our nationwide network of plants and distribution points and allows us to get the best ingredients to the ideal plant, and ship finished products to customers in the most efficient manner possible.”
By the time the new facility is brought on line ahead of the next soup season, which begins in July, the Blount expects to have invested more than $25 million to ensure its improved capabilities are truly state-of-the-art. Upgrades will include proprietary cooking kettles that are both large enough for production efficiencies yet small enough to allow soup to be made by hand in small batches.
“For several years, the Oregon facility has employed smart, capable, experienced and entrepreneurial soup and side dish makers – many of whom will come work with us,” said the president. “We are excited about Portland and its ‘foodie’ culture, the access to quality talent, and the evolution of our nationwide network to meaningfully reduce the total miles our products travel on average.”
Blount expects to employ about 50 workers when the plant opens for business. This will include up to six people who will relocate to Portland from other facilities. Among those making the move is company veteran Douglas Gregoire, who has been named general manager. After the site is fully operational in 2021, it is anticipated that as many as 150 jobs will have been created.