Del Monte plant in Sleepy Eye, Minn. to close, affecting 363 workers

BREAKING Del Monte to close Sleepy Eye plant

BREAKING Del Monte to close Sleepy Eye plant

In a statement, CEO Joselito D. Campos, Jr. said, "This decision has been hard and has come after careful consideration".

The Del Monte Foods plant in Mendota, Illinois is set to close as the company makes changes to its production facilities.

Sleepy Eye's Mayor Wayne Pelzel said the plant is one of the biggest employers in the city of about 3,500 people. The company owned and operated 10 production facilities and three distribution centers in the United States and two production facilities in Mexico.

Just a couple of days after Del Monte Corporation donated more than five tons of sweet corn to the public at Buttered Corn Days in Allison Park - as it has for many years - the California-based company announced plans to close its largest peas and corn production plant in Sleepy Eye.

More than 470 workers will be laid off when Del Monte closes its facility after the current pack season - on or around October 31. "Our asset-light strategy will lead to more efficient and lower cost operations", said Joselito D Campos Jr., Managing Director and CEO, Del Monte Pacific Limited.

Their location in Sleepy Eye Minnesota is expected to close as well.

Del Monte will also be selling off its Cambria, Wis., facility as well as the manufacturing assets from its Crystal City, Texas, facility.

"We are doing all we can to provide the affected employees with resources and support". Seneca Foods Corp. closed its peas and corn processing plant in Rochester a year ago, citing shifting consumer trends. It takes in crops from more than 300 growers covering more than 22,000 acres, according to Del Monte's website. "The straw of hope we hold onto is that someone else buys them out".

The plant in Mendota has been around since 1949 and packs peas, carrots, corn, lima beans and other vegetables.

For its fourth quarter ended April, Del Monte had more than doubled its net profit partly due to a higher gross margin for its U.S. subsidiary Del Monte Foods.

When running at full capacity during the summer season, the plant can employ up to 400 seasonal workers.

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