US-Swiss food manufacturing giant Nestlé is investing US$100 million to expand its frozen foods factory in Gaffney, South Carolina to help it capitalize on the continued uptick in frozen food sales.
First opened in 1980, the Gaffney factory manufactures frozen food entrees for the company’s Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine brands.
The proposed plan will ensure Nestlé can continue to meet growing consumer demand for its frozen food brands includes the addition of a new production line, as well as the expansion of an existing one.
Expected to create about 160 new jobs, the new project comes at a time when the frozen foods category is experiencing enormous growth.
A recent survey commissioned by Nestlé revealed that over one-third of consumers, and 49% of millennials, in particular, said they are likely to bring a frozen meal to work for lunch.
Additionally, American Frozen Food Institute most recent report called frozen foods a “pandemic powerhouse,” hitting US$65.1 billion in retail sales in the U.S. last year.
All these figures make an investment in frozen foods all the more necessary for a company like Nestlé that is currently seeking to have a foothold in high-growth food categories.
“The frozen food category has been growing for the last few years, and the pandemic has only increased that trend. As people spent more time at home, they rediscovered the convenience, value and great taste of frozen foods,” said Nicole Caldwell, Nestlé USA Gaffney factory manager.
The investment comes six months after Nestlé announced a US$100 million expansion of its frozen food plant in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in particular for the production of its Hot Pockets brand sandwiches.
As many consumers become focused on health and wellness during the pandemic Nestlé has also taken steps to boost its frozen food offerings with better-for-you options
For instance, during the pandemic, it launched a frozen line called Life Cuisine that caters to low-carb, high protein, meatless and gluten-free eaters.
It also debuted a refresh for over half of its Lean Cuisine portfolio, with health-conscious recipes under 400 calories and 10 grams of fat or less.
The company’s focus on health and wellness across its portfolio of food products has not only improved its sales but also made it top the global access to nutrition index for the second time in a row.
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