Produce firm buys ex-Progresso plant, expanding S. Jersey presence

Vineland’s former General Mills Progresso Soup plant has a new tenant.

F&S Produce, a supplier of fresh cut fruits and vegetables, finalized the purchase this week.

It already has two production facilities in Rosenhayn, so the new Cumberland County location will increase its size and capabilities.

“Our new, state-of-the-art production facility will allow continued growth within the fresh cut produce space, while enabling our company to expand its meal solution offerings that our customers increasingly seek,” said CEO and President Sam Pipitone Jr. “As consumers focus on healthier, natural foods that are found around the perimeter of the supermarket, F&S Produce is here to provide them with the freshness, food safety and convenience that they demand.”

The company services retailers, foodservice purveyors and industrial processors along the East Coast and beyond. Its core businesses include processing and assembling fresh produce into a vast array of retail products, including fresh cut fruit and vegetable bowls and trays, salsas, ready-to-prepare meal sides and kits, individual and behind-the-glass deli salads, and wraps.

F&S also operates a pepper and pickle brining operation, produces individually quick-frozen fruits and vegetables, and creates purees that are used in soups, beverages, flavors and a variety of other applications.

“Our strength has always been the fruit and vegetable portion of the consumer’s plate.  Cooking capabilities at our new facility will enable us to also fill the starch or grain and protein portions of the plate, providing fresh, healthy and delicious complete meals to our customers,” said Chief Operating Officer Colin Turner.

The 36-year-old company has had a longstanding manufacturing presence in southern New Jersey.

“We have a skilled and dedicated workforce, and we are excited to continue to expand our operations within our community,” said Chief Financial Officer Lori Maddalena.

“The dedication to innovate and fulfill the expanding needs of our customers was behind the decision to purchase and retrofit this impressive production facility,” Pipitone said. “The loyalty of our customers and the commitment of our employees made it a reality.  My executive team and I are excited for the future of the F&S family in our world-class Vineland plant.”