The new vegetable processing plant, currently under construction on the outskirts of the southern Minnesota city of Waseca, is the largest investment that food giant Conagra Brands has ever made in a production facility. The company is spending $250 million to build a 250,000-square-foot frozen food plant for its subsidiary, Birds Eye. It will replace the longstanding Birds Eye plant in Waseca as a site for freezing and packaging sweet corn and peas.
Vegetable processing plants have been more likely to close in Minnesota than open in recent years, Sam Ziegler, director of GreenSeam, a Mankato-based nonprofit that promotes economic development in the agricultural sector. said. The new plant will employ the latest technology in quickly freezing fresh produce and preparing it for retail packaging, according to a video the company produced about the project.
"It's important to keep this in Waseca because it's close to our growers, so we have very quick turnaround time from the field through the plant, as well as being able to utilize some of our current infrastructure and our employees," Jayme Laser, director of platform engineering for Conagra, told startribune.com.