Pinnacle Foods Group LLC, Mountain Lakes, N.J., said it expects at the end of 2011 to close its Fulton, N.Y., Birds Eye frozen vegetable plant and consolidate its operations into facilities in Darien, Wis., and Waseca, Minn. Officials say the move will locate all vegetable processing closer to the crop growing region and eliminate approximately one million shipping miles every year.

“The decision to close the Fulton, N.Y., facility was made after a thorough analysis of all options," said Daryl Pike, senior vice president of operations with Pinnacle's Birds Eye Frozen Division. "The analysis determined this as the most efficient, sustainable way to operate. We are grateful for the services of our employees in Fulton and are committed to treating them with fairness and respect as we transition the facility this year."

Frozen foods contract processor Request Foods, Holland, Mich., said it expects this June to open its second processing plant, a new operation dedicated to skillet meal production. Officials say the new 230,000-square-foot facility is adjacent to Request's current 370,000-square-foot production plant. When completed, the new facility will house state-of-the-art preparation, blending, custom deposits, and freezing systems for co-packing private label and national brands.

"Skillet and bagged-prepared meals are a growing category in the frozen food aisle," said Jack Dewitt, Request Foods president. "With our new facility, we will be able to offer new and existing customers the Request Foods' commitment to excellence in culinary development, fresh preparation, and best-of-class production in their sealed bag, prepared meals."

Request says it produces more than 400 different prepared food items, packaged in, single-serve containers up to six-pound pans and pouches. The new skillet-meal lines will add a variety of sealed-bag and meal-kit options for custom developed recipes or customers' proprietary flavor profiles.