Blount Fine Foods, Fall River, Mass., said it expects by this summer to complete the first to two phased expansions at its Fall River plant. A processor of refrigerated and frozen soup and seafood products, the company plans to add 58,000 square feet for more production space, the installation of a large soup chiller, new soup fillers and improved packaging capabilities.

Officials said Blount also will building new cold processing rooms to expand its entrance into the dip, spread and salad business.

“Our business continues to grow due to the hard work and dedication our team puts into making the best soups in the world,” said Todd Blount, president. “This expansion gives us the chance to not only increase production and products, but also create jobs in our community.”

The project includes 46,000 square feet of additional packaging, freezer storage, cooler storage, and a new shipping/receiving dock, and a 12,000 square foot mezzanine over packaging will be utilized for dry storage. Officials said the project nearly doubles the existing 65,000-square-foot headquarters facility Blount moved into six years ago.

“We have wanted to undertake this expansion for some time, but also wanted to be prudent in this challenging economic environment,” said Bob Sewall, Blount’s vice president of sales and marketing. “The reality is that our customers are selling more gourmet soup because their consumers are demanding more gourmet soup – and they are looking to us for the development of new products as well.

"This growth in our business made it clear that it was time to get this project moving and we look forward to what it will enable Blount Fine Foods to accomplish," Sewall said. "We are leading the wave of fresh prepared foods at the supermarket, club, deli and upscale casual dining establishments.”

Blount said it awarded the design and construction of the $13 million project to CMC Associates, Inc. of Quincy, Mass., which will manage it in two phases to allow the facility to remain in continuous operation throughout the project. Phase 1 will be completed in the summer of 2010. Phase 2 will be initiated immediately following the completion of Phase 1 and should be completed in late 2010.

The project includes an expansion of the central refrigeration system, which will undergo a controls upgrade to allow Blount to refrigerate the facility utilizing the most current energy efficiency measures. To enhance energy efficiency, the project also includes high speed doors, energy efficient lighting and a white roof.