Last updated: February 24. 2014 9:17AM - 557 Views
By Heather Rutz hrutz@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — The food services industry in the region is booming.

Bob Evans Farms is a leader in Allen County, with the 2012 purchase of the Kettle Creations prepared side dish facility.

Bob Evans acquired the facility for $50 million and added 50,000 square feet, which doubled the size of the facility. The expansion will also mean at least 70 new jobs.

The move came in the middle of the company’s Best to Invest in Ohio initiative, which includes a new corporate headquarters and the investment of $187 million in the state over multiple years.

Nash Finch

LIMA — Nash Finch completed a merger in 2013 with Spartan Stores to form a new company, SpartanNash. The company has wholesale distribution centers in Lima and Bellefontaine and provides Spartan brand food products to Chief stores.

The official name change to SpartanNash is expected to become effective at the annual shareholders meeting in May. The combined company will continue to conduct business as Spartan Stores, Nash Finch and MDV in their respective markets.

SpartanNash is a Fortune 500 company and the largest food distributor serving military commissaries and exchanges in the United States, in terms of revenue. The company’s core businesses include distributing food to military commissaries and exchanges and independent and corporate-owned retail stores located in 44 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Azores, Bahrain and Egypt.

Lakeview Farms

DELPHOS — Lakeview Farms is taking advantage of a growing Hispanic food market. The company is known for its dips and desserts, such as sour cream and gelatins. However, the Hispanic market continues to grow at a rapid pace and the company continues to grow with it.

The “Luisa’s” brand has been a significant part of the company for many years. Now, Lakeview Farms also sells under the brand names “Margarita’s”, “Senor Rico” and “Angelica’s.” The range of products also continues to grow with the addition of several flavors and types of flan, tres leches and a wide assortment of Hispanic gelatin products.

Lakeview Farms products can be found throughout the country. The company has manufacturing facilities in Ohio and Wisconsin.

Hirzel Canning

OTTAWA — Hirzel Canning Company, which produces canned tomatoes, tomato products and sauerkraut under the Dei Fratelli brand, is adding new products to its line, Director of Operations Karl Hirzel said. The company has a canning and production facility in Ottawa and farms throughout Northwest Ohio.

The company is introducing high-end carton boxes of tomato products aimed at home chefs, Hirzel said. The boxes are similar to those used for juice boxes and broths. The new product has meant investment in Ottawa. New equipment is needed to fill the boxes, Hirzel said.

“The product has enhanced value, and we’re selling it in specialized food outlets as a food ingredient for home chefs,” Hirzel said. “It’s not replacing our mainstay products but enhancing them.”

Hirzel ships products in from Iowa and Chicago to Pennsylvania and south to Florida.

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