US-based Bob Evans Farms has announced plans to expand two of its BEF Foods fresh production facilities in Xenia, Ohio, and Hillsdale, Michigan, as part of the transformation of its food business.

The expansion, which will involve a total investment of $10m, will increase the company’s overall capacity and processing volume in fresh production.

Bob Evans Farms will invest more than $6m in its 30,000ft² Xenia facility to update 2,600ft of production and employee areas, as well as to undertake equipment improvements.

Currently, nearly 90 people are employed at the Xenia location, and the expansion is expected to create 22 new jobs locally.

The company will invest $4m in Hillsdale for a similar expansion, which will increase production and update equipment, in order to increase capacity and improve food safety.

The Hillsdale plant currently has a workforce of more than 100, and the expansion is expected to create 17 new jobs and increase local payroll by more than $600,000.

"These are strategic investments, designed to capitalise and build on the assets that currently exist in these two facilities – strong community partnerships, an outstanding workforce and significant opportunities for long-term growth."

Bob Evans chairman and CEO Steve Davis said that the foods business is a vital part of the company’s overall growth strategy, and Bob Evans is committed to ensuring it continues to identity and implement initiatives that drive success.

Bob Evans Farms’ BEF Foods segment produces and distributes refrigerated side dishes, pork sausage and a variety of refrigerated and frozen convenience food items under the Bob Evans and Owens brand names.

The latest project is part of the continued transformation of the company’s foods business, which includes investments in plants and transportation centre operations; the acquisition of Ohio-based Kettle Creations and a subsequent expansion of that facility; and expansion of the company’s Sulphur Springs, Texas, production plant.

Steve Davis said that Bob Evans is working to drive the growth of its foods business, and these expansions reflect its commitment to making that happen.

"These are strategic investments, designed to capitalise and build on the assets that currently exist in these two facilities – strong community partnerships, an outstanding workforce and significant opportunities for long-term growth," he said.