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OFD Foods breaks ground on $25m manufacturing plant in New York's Monroe County

Published 23 April 2018

OFD Foods, a supplier of freeze-dried food for the US Military, has started construction on a $25m, nearly 50,000ft² facility in the Town of Henrietta, Monroe County in New York State.

The facility, which will be operating by the end of the year, will focus on providing contract freeze-drying services in bulk industrial packaging for the company’s Midwest and East Coast customer base.

The project is expected to result in the creation of up to 30 full-time jobs. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul made the announcement at a groundbreaking event at the Henrietta site today.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said: "Businesses like OFD Foods, a global leader in freeze-dried technology, are recognizing that the Finger Lakes region is ideal for growth and expansion.

“Our state’s commitment to economic development in Monroe County continues to deliver results. The strategy we have put forward is resulting in the creation of good-paying jobs, like the 30 full-time positions at this new facility in Henrietta.

“More and more companies are investing in New York and demonstrating their confidence in the future of the Finger Lakes region.”

In order to encourage OFD Foods to construct its new manufacturing facility in New York, Empire State Development is providing up to $400,000 in Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative grant funds and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) is providing 1.75 megawatts (MW) of low-cost power under the Governor’s ReCharge NY program.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said: “The OFD expansion will provide a great economic opportunity for the Greater Rochester region and further illustrates the success of the Finger Lakes Forward plan which has made supporting the growth of successful area businesses a top priority.”

NYPA president and CEO Gil Quiniones said: “The Governor’s ReCharge NY program has been a significant economic development catalyst throughout New York State, providing low-cost power to firms in exchange for commitments to create and retain hundreds of thousands of jobs.

“It is great news that OFD Foods will be creating 30 new jobs in the Finger Lakes and NYPA is proud that its RNY power incentive could be a difference-maker.”

As the world's largest custom processor of freeze-dried products, OFD Foods, LLC, produces its own food brands, including Mountain House and Easy Meal for the Emergency Preparedness, Adventure Meal, and Disaster Recovery markets.

OFD Foods is also the leading supplier of freeze-dried food to the United States Military, consumer packaged goods, private food labels, pharmaceuticals, and provides services and ingredients to major food manufacturers.

The shelf life of its products ranges from three to 30 years, depending on packaging and customer needs.

OFD Foods manufacturing, engineering and supply chain senior vice president John Damon said: “The State of New York, Monroe County and the Town of Henrietta have been great to work with, providing invaluable resources for OFD Foods through economic development entities such as Empire State Development and COMIDA.

“We're looking forward to becoming part of the community, investing in our employees as we start up our Henrietta facility later this year.”

OFD Foods CEO and president Jim Merryman said: “OFD Foods appreciates the warm welcome we have received in the Greater Rochester area. We anticipate building a fantastic manufacturing facility, filling it with talented employees who are trained there, and having an overall positive impact in the community. If our current partnerships in the area are any indication, I think our future there holds much promise for all.”

Headquartered in Albany, Oregon, OFD Foods, LLC is a leader in the breadth of uses for adapting freeze-drying technology. In addition to its Oregon facility, the company also has a commercial office in Japan.

Support for the project was also provided by Monroe County, RG&E and Greater Rochester Enterprise.

FLREDC co-chairs, Monroe Community College president Anne Kress and Rochester Chamber of Commerce president & CEO Bob Duffy said: "Supporting projects like this is aligned with the regional council's strategy. We applaud OFD Foods decision to build its new facility in Monroe County as it will serve to further strengthen the local economy as we continue the work of moving the Finger Lakes Forward."

State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle said: "Today's groundbreaking on OFD Food's new facility will mean the creation of new jobs with good wages that will strengthen working families and support our community's continued economic resurgence.

“I am grateful to Governor Cuomo and all of our community partners for their continued commitment to building a brighter future for our region."

State Senator Patrick Gallivan said: “OFD’s decision to build its new facility in Henrietta is a huge victory for the Finger Lakes region.  The company’s investment will bring new job opportunities to residents and add to the continued economic development of upstate New York.  I welcome OFD to the community and look forward its grand opening later this year.”

State Assembly Member Harry Bronson said: “I applaud Jim Merryman and the team at OFD Foods for their commitment to our region,” said Assembly member Harry Bronson. “Today’s announcement by the company and Governor Cuomo shows that the Rochester area has a strong, diverse, and skilled workforce and is in an economic position to create jobs for the future. I look forward to OFD Foods growth and the addition of new jobs at their new Henrietta campus.”

Monroe County executive Cheryl Dinolfo said: “Monroe County was thrilled to work with OFD Foods to help this industry-leading employer grow jobs and expand their investment right here in our community. I thank the OFD team for their commitment to doing business and supporting jobs in Monroe County, and I appreciate our state and local partners for collaborating with us on this exciting project.”

Henrietta Town Supervisor Steven Schultz said: “We are very excited about the jobs and manufacturing that OFD Foods will be bringing to this area. Our team has enjoyed working with the OFD Foods team to help move this multi-million-dollar facility forward while minimizing the impact on their neighbors. We are very glad they chose Henrietta as the site for their east coast operations. They are a very welcome addition to the business community in our Town.”

NYSEG and RG&E Economic Development manager Joseph Rizzo said: “OFD Foods' decision to locate in the Finger Lakes region is a significant win for the community and the state. RG&E is pleased to participate in a collaborative effort with our community partners, National Grid, and OFD Foods to help make this job creation project a reality.

“For more than a decade, our economic development programs have been helping communities retain and attract businesses, and grow employment to further strengthen the state's economy.  We want to congratulate OFD Foods and wish the company continued success."

Greater Rochester Enterprise president & CEO Matt Hurlbutt said: “Our strategic location near OFD Foods’ East Coast clients, coupled with an affordable cost of doing business, made the Greater Rochester, NY region a smart choice for this expansion. This groundbreaking brings OFD Foods one step closer to establishing its multi-million-dollar manufacturing facility in our community.”

Source: Company Press Release.