Blount Fine Foods, a leading marketer and maker of premium, prepared soups, entrées, and side dishes for retail and foodservice, and the market leader in fresh retail soups, announced it has purchased a premium food manufacturing facility in Portland, Oregon. The facility, located at 17711 NE Riverside Parkway, and which had been the headquarters of Harry’s Fresh Foods, gives Blount an additional 80,000 square feet of production capacity for its lines of premium, restaurant-quality soups and side dishes.
The Portland facility expands Blount’s network of production facilities, which includes its headquarters in Fall River, Mass. as well as facilities in Warren, R.I. and McKinney, Tex. The company also announced it has entered into an agreement with a third-party logistics (3PL) partner that will provide expanded distribution and logistics across the United States. Blount has 3PL locations in Taunton, Mass., Fort Worth, Tex., and Atlanta, Ga. In 2020, the company will also name two more 3PL locations in Oregon and the Midwest.
“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,” says Todd Blount, president and chief executive of Blount Fine Foods. “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 then ship the highest quality product on to the customer in the most efficient manner possible. In many ways, we hope this equates to an endless and uninterrupted supply of the world’s best soup.”
By the time Blount brings the new facility online in time for the next soup season, which begins in July, the company expects to invest more than $25 million to ensure it is truly state-of-the-art. The company will add all new processing equipment, including a cutting-edge “spiral hydro chiller” for quick-chilling soups to lock in freshness, as well as proprietary cooking kettles that are both large enough for production efficiencies yet small enough to allow soup to be made largely by hand in small batches.
“For several years, that facility has employed smart, capable, experienced and entrepreneurial soup and side dish makers, many of whom will come work with us,” adds Blount. “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 people when the facility first opens in the second half of 2020, including up to six who will relocate to Portland from other Blount facilities. One who will relocate is Blount veteran Douglas Gregoire, who has been named general manager of the new plant.
By the time the new facility is fully operational, which is expected to be by 2021, Blount expects to employ up to 150 people there.
“With the purchase of this plant in Portland, we are adding redundancy, flexibility, diversity, breadth, and depth, all of which benefit our customers around the country, while also strengthening our leadership position in the industry,” concludes Blount.