Simplot will increase its frozen french fry production by half, making it the second largest fry processor in North America behind Lamb-Weston, following announcement of the buy out of the three Nestle plants by the Boise, ID-based company.
Nestle, however, will continue separately with its Canadian venture with Simplot in Caraberry, Manitoba, where the two companies jointly own and operate a potato processing plant.
The three plants-in Othello, Moses Lake, and Nampa, ID, will help Simplot expand its export and domestic markets. "The Basin plants are well-positioned to support our export market. We think its important to grow," Fred Zerza, spokesman, said.
Operations at the three plants will continue as usual, and the transition should be seemless, Zerza said. There will be no effect on employees except perhaps on some salaried personnel because of consolidation between the Moses Lake and Boise officers, Zerza explained. Likewise, he said the purchase shouldn't have any effect on the company relations with Northwest growers.
Pat Boss of the Washington Potato Commission, says the deal finally puts to rest all kinds of rumors and now gives growers a clear picture of the future. He says it should not change production in the Basin. The only difference is there will now be one less player in the marketplace.