Hudson’s Troy plant’s future

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

uncertain after joint venture

Staff Report

Nov. 21, 2000 10 PM

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A big business partnership has left an air of uncertainty over the future of Troy’s Hudson Companies and their 400 employees.

According to a press release sent by Hudson Companies President and CEO Paul Hudson’s office, Hudson has entered a "joint venture" with Cargill Custon Dressings, LLC, "to manufacture and distribute sauces, mayonnaise and salad dressings, primarily for the restaurant and food service industries."

According to the release, "The future of the Troy facility is still being explored," but Hudson noted that "little change in plant function or employment" is likely for the next "six to eight months."

Hudson said, "I’m hopeful we can keep much of that (Troy) team intact as we launch a new era for this facility."

The future of the Troy facility is still not determined.

"Future possibilities include maintaining it as a manufacturing site for other Hudson products or applying the physical assets to a new manufacturing operation," the release notes.

The venture is made possible through a partnership in which, "Hudson brings its high-quality products to the joint venture. Cargill brings marketing expertise and deeper distribution channels. The products will be marketed under the Cargill Custom Dressings name."

The release did not describe the move as a sale, noting, "the (joint venture) will establish manufacturing facilities adjacent to a number of Cargill processing plants, the source of the vegetable oil that is the main ingredient in dressing products."

According to information obtained from Cargill, plant locations are:

Charlotte, N.C. (C&T Refinery: packaging plant & refinery), Chicago, Ill. (packaging plant), Des Moines, Iowa (refinery), Fayetteville, N.C. (refinery), Fullerton, Calif. (packaging plant), Gainesville, Ga. (packaging plant & refinery), Memphis, Tenn. (refinery), Sidney, Ohio (packaging plant & refinery), Sioux City, Iowa (refinery), West Fargo, N.D. (refinery), and Wichita, Kansas (refinery).

Hudson officials were not available to make further comment on the joint venture.

Cargill oil processing plant locations are

Hudson’s Troy facility opened in 1978 and has expanded four times since and now occupies a 92,000 square-foot facility in the Troy Industrial Park.

Employees work in several areas including food manufacturing, transportation, labs and office support.

According to the release, Hudson said, "The hard work of our dedicated employees in Troy has made us ready to take this leap to the next level."

The information released states that Cargill Industries was founded in 1865 and serves as a "merchandiser, processor and distributor of food and agricultural products and services."

The company employees an estimated 85,000 employees in 60 countries, "providing distinctive customer solutions in supply chain management, food applications and health and nutrition."

The joint venture includes other Fontina Foods, Inc., assets. Fontina Foods, Inc., is the corporate parent of the Hudson Companies.

According to Cargill, the Fontina Foods name will continue to be used and the purpose of the venture is "to provide flavorful fresh processed herbs, herb blends and custom sauces for the food service industry."

Fontina Foods is based in St. Lucie, Fla., and was established in 1984 when founder Michael Buscaino developed a refrigerated pesto sauce. "About 90 percent of FFI’s sales are to restaurant chains," Cargill information reveals.

FFI also supplies bulk ingredients to food processors and manufacturers.

"This investment fits perfectly into Cargill’s goal to be the premier provider of customer solutions for the agri-food chain," said Stan Ryan, North American refined oils manager for Cargill. "Fontina has a well-deserved reputation for working closely with its customers on innovative solutions to their distinct needs. Now those solutions will be backed by Cargill’s leading quality-control and distribution capabilities," an August press release from Cargill states.