- Pinnacle Foods Inc. is buying a former ice cream plant in Hagerstown, MD, for $4.2 million from Valley Pride LLC. Pinnacle is acquiring the facility through Valley Pride's bankruptcy proceedings.
- Valley Pride used the plant to process milk in 2014 before shutting it down earlier this year and declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Prior to that, it had been a Breyers and Good Humor ice cream plant for 30 years before Unilever closed it in 2012.
- Pinnacle plans to use the plant to expand production of its Gardein line, which is outgrowing its current production capacity in Vancouver, British Columbia. Pinnacle spokeswoman Sarah Tremallo told the Associated Press that across the U.S. East Coast, "it makes sense to add production capability."
Since announcing it would be acquiring Gardein in November 2014, Pinnacle has made plans to expand the product line's distribution as well as marketing and innovation. The company believes that plant-based proteins are "at the tipping point of becoming mainstream," Pinnacle Foods CEO Bob Gamgort told Food Business News.
Gamgort said, "This is a category that’s going to be very big in the future, and it’s going to be very big for three reasons: health and wellness, but also sustainability versus animal protein, and affordability versus animal protein."
Gardein has demonstrated double-digit growth across traditional as well as natural and organic channels, "with consumption in the quarter up more than 30% and our market share continuing to advance," Gamgort told Food Business News.
In addition to purchasing this new plant, Pinnacle is also investing about $5 million to expand production capacity at its Gardein facility in Vancouver this year.