Refrigerated & Frozen Foodshonors Sandridge Food Corp. as the magazine's first "Refrigerated Processor of the Year."

By Bob Garrison  •

Whereas most people might  become more fiscally conservative at age 50, that doesn’t necessarily apply to food companies. Consider Ohio’s Sandridge Food Corp., which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.

This refrigerated prepared foods company has been spending more now at a higher rate – investing in its Medina refrigerated foods plant – than perhaps at any time in its past. Moreover, Sandridge Food’s purchase of a high-pressure processing (HPP) system (using cold water pressurization to kill bacteria) will only lead to more spending in the future.

“As a privately owned business, we are in the fortunate position to make all of our decisions based on the long-term success of our business,” says CEO Mark Sandridge. “We have invested more than $20 million in the last five years. As our company continues to grow, we expect to double this rate of capital investment during the next five years.”

YetRefrigerated & Frozen Foodsisn’t recognizing Sandridge Food’s ability to spend money. Rather, we’re recognizing our first “Refrigerated Foods Processor of Year” for investing in a way that demonstrates mature, category leadership.

Having already proven that it can deliver a truly fresher product to consumers, Sandridge decided to take on its customers’ biggest food concern: food safety. That led Sandridge to purchase an HPP system, a technology company officials have studied since a mid-‘90s visit to meat processor Hormel Foods Corp.

“HPP is a game changer,” says Mark Sandridge. “We believe this new equipment not only represents the future for our company – but for the entire fresh food industry. It enables us to make higher quality products without preservatives and it allows us to use a wider array of fresh ingredients. It also helps us approach our goal of ‘bacteria-free’ foods. There’s absolutely no room for food safety issues in our industry’s future.”

Providing another viewpoint is Frank Sidari, Sandridge Food’s vice president of business development and a 27-year food industry veteran.

“Our food safety challenge has been to develop a bacteria-free product. We learned about HPP’s use with pre-packaged meats and guacamole – but nobody had ever attempted to apply it to prepared foods,” he says.

“It took a leap of faith and tremendous amounts of research but now we’ve done it. It’s wonderful to know you have a management team and culture that will go after something like that.”

Come see. Come learn.
Refrigerated & Frozen Foodswill present its first “Refrigerated Foods Processor of the Year” award to Mark Sandridge during the Refrigerated Foods Association’s 31st annual conference and exhibition, March 6-9, at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Fla. Call (770) 452-0660 or visit for conference details.