EYE ON OPERATIONS

Canadian meat and bakery foods giant Maple Leaf Foods, Toronto, plans to build new meat processing plants and bakeries -- while it closes other facilities -- as part of a comprehensive plan to raise shareholder value, officials said. Maple Leaf said its approach involves ". . . simplification of bakery and meat products formulation and manufacturing, early facility rationalization and the implementation of an integrated SAP system that will provide a base to enhance business performance and further reduce administration and processing costs."

The plan also contemplates a series of plant consolidations, coupled with strategic capital investments in new manufacturing capacity and technology. This will include construction of two large scale facilities: a bakery in Hamilton, Ontario, that is planned to be commissioned in mid-2011; and a new prepared meats facility, with construction planned to commence in 2012. These investments are expected to materially increase the profitability and competitiveness of Maple Leaf's manufacturing facilities and its distribution network.

Tip Top Poultry Inc., Marietta, Ga., said it broke ground for a $4.6 million freezer addition at its Rockmart, Ga., processing plant. Officials said "additional freezer space became a strategic necessity for the supply chain" due to growing production volume and product proliferation.

Massachusetts state officials saidKayem Foods Inc., Chelsea, Mass., will use $6.5 million in state funding to purchase and install a high-speed sausage and frank processing line at its Chelsea operation. Officials expect the project to be completed by next summer. Kayem also produces fresh Italian sausage and brats, kielbasa, dinner hams and and deli meats.
 
Pork processorTrim-Rite Food Corp., Carpentersville, Ill., will begin operating a former (shuttered) hog processing plant in Rantoul, Ill., reported the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Officials said Trim-Rite will lease the operation, invest $5.6 million in new equipment and create as many as 100 jobs. Meadowbrook Farms was the previous owner.
“We are pleased to have this opportunity and are looking forward to being a productive member of the Rantoul community,” said James Jendruczek, president, Trim-Rite Food Corporation. “It is our goal, with the addition of new equipment from Europe, to make this plant the finest and most modern hog processing facility in the United States. Utilizing the European process we will build ‘quality’ into every hog carcass we process.”