“Nothing is happening to our Salinas salad plant,” Chiquita spokesman Andrew Ciafardini said.
The facility on Blanco Road in Salinas is the largest of Fresh Express’ salad processing operations. The company is also keeping its research and development center on Brunken Avenue.
“About 50 employees are moving from our Blanco office space to the Brunken center, primarily as part of our relocation and consolidation efforts announced last November,” Ciafardini said.
Chiquita’s latest announcement came Aug. 7. In light of a 92% drop in profits year-over-year for the second quarter, the company said it will trim operations and seek a new chief executive officer.
One aspect of Chiquita’s plan is the consolidation of three salad plants in Franklin, Ill., into a single plant in Streamwood, Ill. Chiquita broke ground on the new plant in June. Ciafardini told The Packer it should be operating by February.
Fresh Express was founded in Salinas; its roots date to the 1920s. The first Fresh Express packaged salads were offered in 1989.
Performance Food Group bought Fresh Express in 2001 for about $290 million, and sold it to Chiquita in 2005 for $855 million.