Lamb Weston plans Sweet Potato Processing Plant in Louisiana

August 05, 2009

ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston announced today plans to build a new, state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly processing plant near Delhi, Louisiana, designed primarily to process high-quality sweet potatoes from the region into fries and related products.

The new plant is scheduled to open in November 2010, and will create approximately 275 jobs when it opens for operation. Future expansion could increase the total number of jobs created to more than 500.

Sweet potatoes are one of today’s hottest food trends with per capita consumption up 21 percent in the past five years according to the USDA. A 2007 Technomic survey showed that 85 percent of the general population is favorably inclined toward sweet potatoes.

“We’ve learned from our extensive experience with sweet potatoes that they require special handling and processing,” said Jeff DeLapp, president, Lamb Weston. “This new processing plant is uniquely designed to enhance the quality of our sweet potato products in the most efficient way, which allows us to continue bringing value to our customers. Those customers, including some of the largest quick-service restaurant chains, seek consistent, high-quality sweet potato fries and other sweet potato products. We look forward to meeting the strong and growing demand for these potato products.”

The plant will be one of the first food plants in the country built from the ground up with the newest and best processing and packaging technologies in the industry, and will follow LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards for environmentally sustainable construction. The plant’s sustainable building design will provide multiple environmental, economic, health and community benefits, including a substantial reduction in energy usage and water conservation. In addition, the plant’s design will incorporate such features as natural lighting and minimally irrigated landscaping. The plant design has been registered with the United States Green Building Council.

“The modular design of the facility allows us tremendous flexibility to expand or modify production for other types of products, including traditional potato items, depending on customer and consumers needs,” DeLapp said.

Lamb Weston currently markets sweet potatoes to restaurants under the Sweet Things® brand.

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