A food processing plant in Biddeford plans to lay off 93 employees by the end of March.

Growers Express attributed the job cuts to an effort to become more efficient in the constantly changing food processing market. The company wouldn’t say how many people work at its Biddeford plant or whether the layoffs would result in the closure of the Biddeford plant.

The company processes and packages fresh and frozen vegetables that are sold in bags under the Green Giant brand. Its Biddeford processing plant used to be owned and operated by Curran Co., but Curran was purchased by Growers Express – a national corporation based in California – in 2016.

The Maine Department of Labor received a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice from Growers Express dated Dec. 29. Under a recently revised state law, employers with more than 100 workers are required to notify the state not less than 60 days before closing or relocating a facility, and implementing a mass layoff of a company’s workforce.

“Growers Express continues to refine its business by adapting and working to become as efficient as possible in the ever-changing food processing marketplace,” Tristan Simpson, Growers’ vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement issued Wednesday night. “We are committed to doing all we can to provide the affected employees with resources and support.”

Simpson said that the layoffs would take effect by March 24.

Jessica Picard, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Labor, confirmed on Wednesday that Growers Express had been in contact with the state about the layoffs.

Rapid Response Services will be made available to affected employees, Picard said. A Rapid Response team can meet with the workers to discuss health insurance options, obtain unemployment benefits and assist with resume writing and job retraining.

In 2016, Growers Express acquired Curran’s, a longtime supplier of Green Giant Fresh value products. Curran’s expanded into Biddeford in the fall of 2015, moving into a new state of the art 55,000-square-foot facility at 20 Morin Street. Attempts to reach officials in Biddeford’s Department of Economic Development were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Growers Express is based in California’s Salinas Valley, which often is referred to as the “salad bowl of the world.” Products processed in Biddeford are distributed to grocery stores and food service establishments throughout New England, including Shaw’s and Trader Joe’s.

According to the company’s website, Growers Express was founded in 1987 by eight produce growers. The company, headquartered in Salinas, California, has become one of the largest suppliers of fresh vegetables in the country.

Crops are grown primarily in California, Arizona and Mexico, a model that allows the company to grow and distribute 30 commodities on a year-round basis. Some of those commodities include: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, celery and whole leaf lettuce.

In June 2019, the Biddeford facility issued a food recall after it determined that multiple fresh vegetable products might have been contaminated with listeria. No cases of listeria illness were reported.

 

 

 

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: