Food & Agriculture Related

VA: Greencore Group to Invest $5.75M to Expand, Create 350 Jobs

29 Mar, 2013

Governor Bob McDonnell announced that Greencore Group plc, an Ireland-based, leading international manufacturer of convenience foods, will invest $5.75 million to expand its first Virginia food processing facility in Stafford County following the April 2012 acquisition of the former Marketfare Foods, LLC. In addition to servicing Marketfare Foods’ principal customer of 20 years, 7-Eleven, Greencore will also service a significant new contract from the Stafford County operation, creating 350 new jobs.

Governor McDonnell met with Greencore Group officials at the headquarters in Dublin, Ireland during a July 2012 marketing mission.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McDonnell said, “Last July I met with Greencore Group in Ireland to discuss the recent acquisition of Marketfare Foods and the potential to expand the operation in order to serve the company’s newest significant contract from the Stafford County plant. Successfully competing for this project against other locations is a great testament to the opportunity Greencore sees for its Virginia operation to provide new capabilities in the fast-growing food-to-go category and extend the company’s geographic footprint along the East Coast. We celebrate 350 new job opportunities and a resulting increase in volume for Virginia-grown produce that will greatly benefit the Commonwealth’s agricultural producers in the region.”

“Greencore Group’s new Virginia operation represents an excellent opportunity for the continued expansion of the company’s convenience food business in the U.S.,” said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Stafford County offers the right location with an existing facility and infrastructure, and convenient proximity to key customers. We are confident in Greencore’s future success in the Commonwealth, and look forward to further enhancing the partnership between Virginia and Ireland.”

“Greencore’s expansion in Stafford County is a victory for both economic development and increased agricultural production in Virginia,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. “During meetings with Greencore officials in Ireland and Massachusetts last year, it became clear that the Greencore’s expansion would benefit Virginia by creating more jobs at the facility and by generating more opportunities for our agricultural producers to supply the company. Greencore will be served well by expanding in Virginia and sourcing more high-quality Virginia grown products, such as cabbage, peppers, and other commodities from our outstanding family farmers.”

Greencore is a leading manufacturer of convenience food with 22 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and the U.K. These facilities produce a wide range of products including food to go, chilled prepared meals, quiche, cakes and pasta sauces for all of the major retailers in the U.K. as well as a number of regional outlets in the US. Greencore employs more than 11,000 people in the U.K., the U.S. and Ireland. Greencore was established in Ireland in 1991 following the privatization of the Irish sugar industry and in 2001 it acquired U.K. food manufacturer Hazlewood Foods. From 2001 to 2008 Greencore underwent a major transition from an agri-based business to a focused convenience foods manufacturer; and in 2008 Greencore entered the U.S. market with the acquisition of Home Made Brand Foods in Massachusetts. In 2010 Greencore acquired a further business in Massachusetts, but it was the acquisitions of MarketFare Foods, with its sites in Stafford County and Salt Lake City, as well as the acquisition of HC Schau in Florida and Chicago, that saw that Greencore would become a key player in the U.S. market. The key focus of Greencore's business in the U.S. is food to go for a major convenience store chain as well as a new major foodservice customer. Greencore USA is headquartered in Danvers, Massachusetts and currently employs in excess of 1,000 across its six U.S. sites.

"Greencore is absolutely delighted to be making this investment in its facility in Stafford County,” said Liam McClennon, CEO for Greencore USA. “Virginia offers an excellent environment for us to invest in further growth in our Fredericksburg plant. In addition to the skills and capabilities of our current workforce, Virginia offers us a great pool of talent to support our recruitment plans, as well as the availability of high quality local products and ingredients, which we can use in our finished products. Furthermore, the County offers business friendly policies and an excellent transport and logistics network, which is critical to the success of Greencore. I would like to thank the Governor and his team for their support and for making Greencore feel welcome in Virginia."

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Stafford County to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McDonnell approved $75,000 from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund, a grant administered by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and made to businesses that add value to Virginia-grown agricultural and forestal products. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.

“Economic development is one of Stafford’s strongest assets, and we pride ourselves in our efforts to diversify our tax base,” said Stafford’s Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors Bob Thomas, whose George Washington District is home to Greencore’s plant in Stafford County. “Greencore adds to that diversity while bringing new employment opportunities and investment to our community. It also helps put Stafford on the global stage with the international market. We now have more than 2,250 businesses, and are Commonwealth-leading in business and job growth (by percentage of growth) in Virginia. Thanks to our aggressive economic development program, as well as our business retention and expansion efforts, almost 38,000 people can say they work in Stafford. Thanks to Greencore, that number is growing. We wish them continued success and look forward to working with them on future endeavors.”