Bubba Foods, a frozen hamburger manufacturer based in Jacksonville, Fla., has announced that it is acquiring a former Armour-Eckrich plant in Hastings, Neb., and will have the plant up and running by mid-summer. The plant, which closed last July, may eventually employ up to 200 people, reports theLincoln Journal-Star.

Billy Morris, president and CEO of the company, said that the Hastings plant will allow Bubba Foods to meet the demand for its Bubba Burger products in the Midwest and West Coast. The company is spending $11 million on the acquisition and renovations of the plant, and it is also working on a $7.7 million expansion on its plant in Elberton, Ga.

"We are excited about the opportunity to continue to expand our production capacity with the addition of the Hastings plant," said chief operating officer Steve Coon. "It is a well-positioned location for production of the Bubba Burger with its proximity to raw material suppliers and a great pool of employees with a high level of meat processing experience."

Source: Lincoln Journal-Star

Townsends announces new management team

Georgetown, Del.-based Townsends Inc. announced that effective February 25, 2010, two of the company’s board members have also assumed roles as executive officers. Frederick B. Beilstein has been appointed CEO, and Michael P. Schall president, sales and marketing.

Beilstein is a managing partner in the private investment firm of Atlanta-based Equicorp Partners LLC. Equicorp principally invests in franchised restaurant sector companies. He is also the former CEO and chief financial officer of AFC Enterprises Inc. the franchisor of Popeye’s Chicken & Biscuits, and former franchisor of Church’s Chicken, Cinnabon and Seattle’s Best Coffee. He previously served as CFO of AmeriCold Logistics Inc., a temperature-controlled warehousing and transportation management company serving both the wholesale and retail sides of the food industry.

Schall most recently served as senior vice president of Monterey Gourmet Foods and was a member of its board of directors from 2000 to 2008. Prior to joining Monterey Gourmet, he served as senior vice president, sales and marketing of Wise Potato Chips and president and CEO of the B. Manischewitz Company, a kosher food marketer.

Source: Townsends Inc.

Tyson to shift away from Russian market

Tyson Foods said that it has reduced the amount of chicken it exports to Russia to about 10 percent of its total exports, down from about 50 percent a few years. In a webcast presentation at a J.P. Morgan investment conference, Dennis Leatherby, chief operating officer, said that the company has found other export markets as well as domestic uses for the meat, Reuters reports.

Russia banned U.S. chicken imports in January due to a chlorine rinse used by most processors. Sanderson Farms recently announced that it was using a different, more expensive, rinse method that the company hoped would meet Russian standards.

"It is more costly to use the other methods, but we are certainly willing to do that, if the Russians are," Leatherby said of the chlorine wash.

Leatherby also stated that the company was focusing on reinvesting in the business and improving its debt rating to investment grade rather than buyback shares. It is also working to integrate recent acquisitions in China and Brazil.

Source: Reuters