Bob Evans Farms, Inc., New Albany, Ohio, announced plans to expand two of its BEF Foods fresh production facilities, located in Xenia, Ohio, and Hillsdale, Mich. Both sites will be expanded to increase overall capacity and processing volume in fresh production.

The expansions are part of the continued transformation of the company’s foods’ business, which includes investments in plants and transportation center operations; the acquisition of Lima, Ohio-based Kettle Creations and a subsequent expansion of that facility; and expansion of the company’s Sulphur Springs, Texas, production plant.

“Bob Evans is working to ignite the growth of our foods business, and these expansions reflect our commitment to making that happen,” says Steve Davis, chairman and CEO. “These are strategic investments, designed to capitalize and build on the assets that currently exist in these two facilities—strong community partnerships, an outstanding workforce and significant opportunities for long-term growth.”

Since 2011, and with the investment in Xenia, Bob Evans will have invested more than $194 million in the state as part of its BEST to Invest in Ohio initiative, says Davis.

Expansion of the company’s Xenia plant, where more than $6 million is being invested to grow the current 30,000-square-foot fresh production facility, is scheduled to begin in coming weeks. The project includes 2,600 feet of updates to production and employee areas, as well as equipment improvements. Nearly 90 people are employed at the Xenia location, and when completed, an anticipated 22 new jobs will be created locally.

A similar expansion is planned as part of the $4 million investment in Hillsdale, which will allow for increased production volume, equipment updates to accommodate additional capacity and enhance food safety and quality assurance and renovation of existing facilities. The Hillsdale plant currently employs more than 100 people, and the expansion is expected to create 17 new jobs and increase local payroll by more than $600,000.

“As we look to the future, investing in the communities where Bob Evans has enjoyed long and beneficial relationships just makes sense,” says Davis. “Our foods business is a vital part of our overall growth strategy, and we are firmly committed to ensuring we continue to identity and implement initiatives that drive that success.”