Beech-Nut opens baby-food production facility in New York

RP news wires

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation on June 1 hosted a grand opening ceremony at its new 650,000-square-foot infant food production facility in the Town of Florida, N.Y., in Montgomery County. The facility represents a $124 million investment in Montgomery County, including significant financial support by New York State and marks another milestone in Beech-Nut's 119 year history of processing food in Upstate New York. Beech-Nut also has filed an application to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Certification, which would make it the first infant food production facility in the world and one of a few food processors in the United States to receive such a designation.

"Our new facility and our impending LEED-Certification puts Beech-Nut in a great position to grow our company and our brand," said Jim Schneider, president and CEO, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation. "It not only enhances our mission of providing the most nutritional baby food products in the marketplace, but just as important reinforces our commitment to reducing our carbon footprint."

United States Senator Charles Schumer, U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko and New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver as well as a number of other state and local government and community officials attended the grand opening event.

"For more than a decade I have been working to keep Beech-Nut in Montgomery County," said Senator Schumer. "We saved it when Heinz wanted to move it to Pittsburgh and again when the USDA threatened to disrupt the production line, and after the devastating flood of 2006 we wondered if our luck had run out. But today, as we open this beautiful new facility, we know that Hero will be keeping Beech-Nut right here in the Mohawk Valley long into the future. Hundreds of good paying jobs will stay here. The company will continue to buy millions of dollars of locally grown produce from our farmers. And, parents will continue to feel secure that they are feeding their babies quality, New York State grown, New York State produced baby food, cereals and drinks."

"Congratulations to Beech-Nut for opening this state-of-the art facility, providing new jobs and continuing the partnership with New York State that goes back well over 100 years," said Congressman Paul Tonko. "I'm proud to have worked in collaboration with Beech-Nut along with local and state officials to help make this facility a reality. The fact that Beech-Nut will be increasing their output while saving energy and natural resources underlies the company's commitment to our region."

"This state-of-the-art facility will not only provide jobs for Montgomery County, it will help strengthen the state's economy at a time when global economic conditions are still uncertain," stated Speaker Silver. "In 2007, when Hero AG decided to relocate its national headquarters to the Town of Florida, it represented a strong, long-lasting partnership between our state and this corporation. The green, efficient upgrades in food processing technology at this plant will enable Beech-Nut to continue producing the world's finest baby food and reinforce this company's sound, permanent presence in this community."

"Today marks a tremendous day for Montgomery County and for New York State as world renowned Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation celebrates its new state-of-the-art facility and headquarters," said Empire State Development chairman and CEO Dennis M. Mullen. "ESD is pleased to have been a part of the collaborative efforts that have made this grand opening ceremony possible. Beech Nut is not only expanding the state's manufacturing base but creating jobs and growing the local economy it has called home for more than a century. It's investments like this that will get us on the road to fiscal recovery and help rebuild our state. We applaud Beech-Nut's commitment to Upstate New York and wish the company continued success."

The new facility, located in the Florida Industrial Park, will employ approximately 500 associates, including 135 positions as a result of the relocation of Beech-Nut's headquarters from St. Louis, Mo. The facility also will become home to Hero's North America operations and replaces Beech-Nut's existing plants in Canajoharie and Fort Plain, N.Y.

The construction of the new facility included a number of environmental enhancements to improve overall sustainability, including:

  • A significant savings in the amount of fresh water used to operate the facility equivalent to the daily use by a city of 10,000 people;
  • A reduction in waste water discharge equivalent to what is the daily discharge by another ten thousand people;
  • A reduction in electricity over current efficiency standards equivalent to service the energy demands of more than 2,000 people annually;
  • The utilization of natural light and landscaping that thrives in its environment without the excess use of piped water and irrigation;
  • The use of certified sustainable wood and environmentally friendly paints that were used on both interior and exterior construction;
  • The reduction of landfill waste from the construction was implemented throughout the construction process; and
  • These investments into sustainability enhancement will produce savings of more than 1,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

The new facility has been designated a non-smoking facility and in addition, the company has implemented an internal recycling program as well as a green cleaning regiment which eliminates the use of cleaning agents with certain chemicals. Incentives also have been created to encourage Beech-Nut employees to adopt personal green practices, including reserved parking spaces for employees who drive Hybrid vehicles and accommodations for employees who bicycle to work.

"Today's celebration continues our 119 year old history in Montgomery County and Upstate New York," Schneider continued. "We are so proud that Beech-Nut will continue to be a leader in making even more nutritious baby food products and we are very appreciative to New York State, Montgomery County, Senator Schumer, Congressman Tonko and so many others for making today a reality."

About Beech-Nut
Producing baby food since 1931, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corporation has been built on a history of innovation and dedication to infant nutrition. Headquartered in Amsterdam, New York, Beech-Nut is the number two leading baby food brand in the United States and is committed to deliver more nutrition for parents and babies. As a subsidiary of Hero AG of Lenzburg, Switzerland, a global leader in consumer goods and infant feeding, Beech-Nut is able to combine global resources to continuously improve food and nutrition for infants.

About Hero AG
Hero, an international brand-focused consumer-foods group, was founded in 1886 in Lenzburg, Switzerland, and is committed to producing high-quality, nutritious products in its core product categories of Infant Nutrition and Fruit. Hero's operations are based predominantly in Europe, North America and Middle East/Africa and Turkey/CentralAsia. In 2009, the group generated revenues of $1.9 billion with more than 4,000 employees.

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