Bellisio Foods Inc. will close its Austin, Minn., frozen food manufacturing plant in April, affecting about 100 employees.
The company said in a news release that it will consolidate manufacturing operations at two other facilities in Jackson, Ohio, and Vernon, Calif., to improve efficiencies and better serve the company's customers.
Headquartered in Minneapolis, Bellisio Foods produces more than 400 frozen food products, including single and multi-serve entrees, snacks, side dishes and specialty sauces. Its website said that the Austin plant specialized in bagged meals, family meal trays, potpies and food service protein and sauce pouches.
Employees were notified of the upcoming shutdown on Tuesday and will be provided with outplacement assistance and other support, the firm said.
Bellisio markets products under its Michelina's and So Right brands and also serves retail, restaurant and food-service companies that include Boston Market, Chili's, EatingWell and Atkins, as well as private label products.
The company's roots go back to Jeno Paulucci, a Hibbing, Minn., native who founded several food companies. He started Luigino's Inc. in Duluth in 1990, a few years after he sold his Jeno's frozen pizza company to Pillsbury.
Luigino's became Bellisio in 2007 and changed hands when the private-equity firm Centre Partners bought it in 2011 just before Paulucci died.
In 2013, Bellisio added the then-bankrupt Austin Packaging Co. plant to its system by buying the small producer of sauces and frozen entrees for more than $6 million. In November 2016, Thai food giant Charoen Pokphand Foods acquired Bellisio for $1.08 billion. At the time, Bellisio had an estimated 2,100 workers, annual sales of $668 million and said it was the nation's third largest manufacturer and distributor of single-serve frozen entrees.
Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388