EYE ON OPERATIONS

ConAgra Foods, Omaha, Neb., said its CEO Gary Rodkin joined Lamb Weston President Jeff DeLapp, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and others to officially open ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston’s new sweet potato processing plant in Delhi, La.

Officials said the operation will use produce items for Lamb Weston's Sweet Things line for foodservice, which includes sweet potato fries, wedges, puffs, as well as mashed sweet potatoes. The plant also will also produce ALEXIA retail grocery brand sweet potato products.

“The Delhi plant is the culmination of our decade-long experience with sweet potato processing technologies and product innovation,” said DeLapp. “Today’s official grand opening ribbon cutting celebrates the past year and a half of intense planning and construction, building our most sustainable plant to date. It is a singular accomplishment and true cornerstone of our continuing leadership in the industry.”

Officials said the Delhi plant is one of 20 Lamb Weston plants in the United States, Canada and Europe. The new Louisiana site employs 275 people.

Said Rodkin, “This significant investment is indicative of the big opportunity we see in our potato platform. Potatoes, including sweet potatoes, are a strategic priority for ConAgra Foods, and we are committed to expansion in this area. This new plant will further our North American leadership position in potatoes by supporting growth in an adjacent category, and add to our worldwide presence.”



Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) announced that frozen dough processor Gold Crust Baking Company is relocating its operations from Alexandria, Va. to Landover, Md.

Founded in 2000, Gold Crust annually produces more than 20 million pounds of frozen breads and rolls dough for hotels, restaurants and catering companies in the Mid-Atlantic region, officials said. Company officials said Gold Crust's new facility will initially employ 60 workers. Gold Crust also said it expects to  expand its frozen product line and create another 50 new jobs over the next three to five years, officials said.

“We all face major choices that shape our business and the lives of our employees. Gold Crust Baking Company seized this opportunity and the support of MEDCO that marks a decisive step in growing our bakery,” said Nausika Lyubinsky, Gold Crust Baking's owner. “We are extremely excited to move into Maryland and start the next phase of our journey.”

There were no details about Gold Crust's current bakery, relocation schedule or future building site. In related news, real estate media reported that Gold Crust purchased a 89,408-square-foot warehouse in Cheverly, Md., from Pacific Realty Associates for $6.8 million, or about $76 per square foot.

Officials noted that the Class B warehouse was built in 1971, renovated in 2003 and is in the Landover/Largo industrial submarket. Past owners have included grocery retailer Safeway.