Diversified Foods and Seasonings has announced a $12 million expansion at its Madisonville food manufacturing plant, which will include relocating a production line from its Nebraska facility to St. Tammany Parish. The project will create 44 new jobs, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office said in a news release Friday (Dec. 21).
The Madisonville plant produces a variety of foods for Diversified’s clients, including the red beans sold at Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen restaurants.
The 44 new jobs will have average salaries of more than $28,000, Edwards’ office said. The plant already employs 120 people, the news release said.
Diversified was founded in 1984 by Al Copeland to supply his Popeye’s fried chicken chain. It produces batters, breading, biscuit mixes, sauces and spice blends that are sold in the U.S. and 20 countries across the globe. The company’s headquarters are in Covington.
The Madisonville plant is the largest of the company’s three manufacturing facilities, at 93,000 square feet. It has a production capacity of 100 million pounds. The company’s other manufacturing sites are in Nebraska City, Nebraska, and Theodore, Alabama.
To help secure the project, Louisiana Economic Development, a state agency, offered the company an incentive package that included a $500,000 grant for infrastructure improvements and sewer upgrades. The governor’s news release said the company is also expected to apply for the state’s Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
“LED’s support of this expansion project has made it possible for Diversified to increase its plant square footage in Madisonville by over 20 percent and provide 44 new jobs within the parish by next year,” Diversified CEO Peter Smith said.
The Madisonville plant also houses the company’s Technology Culinary Center, which is staffed by chefs and food scientists involved in product research and development.
Edwards, in the news release, called Diversified a “great corporate ambassador for Louisiana’s culinary traditions across the U.S. and beyond.”
St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, St. Tammany Corp. CEO Chris Masingill and GNO Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht praised the company and touted the expansion as a job producer.
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