Nestlé́ announced on Friday that it has reached a conditional agreement with Conagra Brands, the North American packaged foods company headquartered in Chicago, Ill., that will support the manufacturing of Chef-mate products in Trenton, utilizing Nestlé’s proprietary cooked-before-canning (CBC) process.

Nestlé́ announced on Friday that it has reached a conditional agreement with Conagra Brands, the North American packaged foods company headquartered in Chicago, Ill., that will support the manufacturing of Chef-mate products in Trenton, utilizing Nestlé’s proprietary cooked-before-canning (CBC) process. Chef-mate is a leading brand in foodservice sold through Nestlé́ Professional, the out-of-home division of Nestlé S.A. Under this agreement, Nestlé́ will purchase from Conagra Brands the proprietary CBC line along with the factory building. The purchase of these assets will allow Nestlé́ to implement a focused and lean operation in Trenton while delivering the highest quality manufacturing for the Chef-mate brand. Nestlé́ will also manufacture certain products for Conagra Brands. The Chef-mate brand was established in 1967. The product line features authentic comfort food classics like Chef-mate Country Sausage Gravy, Chef-mate Corned Beef Hash, Chef-mate Chili Con Carne and Chef-mate Golden Cheese Sauce. In 2016, Conagra Brands announced its intention to close its Trenton factory by the end of May 2018. Nestlé́ has been engaged in conversation with Conagra Brands, state officials and local officials with the intention of securing future production for Chef-mate at the Trenton facility. “This announcement by Nestlé́ could not have come at a better time for the economic future of our community. I’m very excited this will happen and improve the business climate of Trenton and the region. This will help improve the quality of life for all of our citizens,” said Trenton Mayor Nick McHargue. Nestlé́ is committed to the Chef-mate brand and the proprietary cooked-before-canning process. This unique process was invented in Trenton in 1964 to address the specific needs of the out-of-home industry that utilize larger #10 cans. Under this process, food is piped under pressure to canning equipment and cooked by steam injection. The steam sterilizes the food without overcooking it and reduces the overall processing time so as to deliver a product with consistent, made-from-scratch taste and color. According to John Petro, director of Nestlé́ Professional human resources, “Nestlé plans to start an open hiring process in March. This means that anyone interested can apply, including all current factory employees and we will follow the same hiring policies we employ in all Nestlé́ locations.” “We do not know exactly how many employees we will be hiring. However, we expect our needs to be similar to what will exist when Conagra Brands exits the factory, which right now is approximately 135 – 150 employees,” says Andy Darley, Nestlé Professional project manager. Completion of this agreement is targeted for May 2018 and is subject to the satisfaction of the terms, conditions, and contingencies set forth between Conagra Brands and Nestlé. Nestlé́ Professional is dedicated to being an inspiring growth partner that delivers creative branded food and beverage solutions, enabling foodservice operators to delight their consumers. From on-trend culinary brands that include Minor’s, Stouffer’s, Chef-mate and Trio to innovative beverage systems under the NESCAFÉ, Nestlé Vitality and Coffee-mate brands, Nestlé Professional meets the needs of foodservice operators while satisfying the tastes of the out-of-home consumer.