New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Friday announced LiDestri Foods Inc. of Fairport and G’s Fresh Ltd. of the United Kingdom have partnered to form Love Beets USA, LLC, a $17 million Rochester-based joint manufacturing venture for the processing and packaging of fresh, marinated and organic beets and beet products.
G’s Fresh, which currently produces Love Beets abroad, will invest in the new partnership and leverage LiDestri’s leadership in the food industry to produce its popular product in Rochester and expand distribution throughout the U.S. The newly formed company will be located at the LiDestri Foods manufacturing complex at Eastman Business Park in Rochester and is slated to begin operations in November 2015.
Love Beets is slated to create 50 new full time positions by year’s end, increasing to 140 within five years. Additionally, local growers are expected to benefit with sharply higher demand of organic beet crops and opportunity to move their products into new markets and increase sales. Love Beets has a goal of having the majority of its beets sourced by New York State farmers.
“Growing businesses at the Eastman Business Park is a key component to the region’s success and having this international company partnering with a local business is more evidence that Rochester is on the move," Governor Cuomo said. "Not only will this create jobs and economic activity, it will also help support our farmers and reinforce the buy-local movement that is Taste NY. I welcome G's Fresh to New York and congratulate LiDestri's on this new venture."
The economic support and assistance from local and state agencies was a critical factor in locating the Love Beets processing plant in Rochester. New York State, through Empire State Development, will provide a $1 million capital grant, up to $1.5 million in Excelsior tax credits and a low interest loan.
The Governor’s Taste NY program, which promotes New York’s agriculture economy, has already proven hugely successful in branding and expanding New York’s food and beverage industry by making local products readily available and recognizable to New Yorkers, as well as to the hospitality industry and public nationwide. In 2014, total gross sales of New York products from Taste NY events and stores amounted to approximately $1.5 million.
“Love Beets branded products are currently imported from the UK and have gained significant market penetration and media interest since first being introduced in the States in 2011,” said G’s Fresh, Ltd., UK Chairman John Shropshire. “With the accelerating growth of Love Beets, G’s and LiDestri have joined forces to vertically integrate the production of Love Beets in the US, using US grown organic beets, a move that would bring significant logistical cost savings to the brand and new jobs to Rochester.”
“This joint venture represents a very unique and holistic opportunity to develop a vertically integrated supply chain in Western NY, and to bring significant agricultural benefits to the region,” said LiDestri CEO Giovanni LiDestri. “Once established, the relationships to local farmers, access to organic fields and beets, and the subsequent centralized processing of the crop, will not be easily duplicated elsewhere.”
Both G’s Fresh and LiDestri are similar in size and makeup, as both are multi-generational family owned private enterprises. The $17 million project will establish a new, 100,000 square foot beet processing facility, including installation of machinery and equipment and the construction of a new wastewater sewage line.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “This project is a big win for the region. With G’s Fresh partnering with Fairport’s own LiDestri Foods, Love Beets products will create processing jobs in the Rochester-area and help regional farmers.”
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter said, “I am so pleased to officially welcome Love Beets USA to Rochester. Since first meeting with Love Beets’ leadership last August, it’s been one of my top priorities to bring them to Rochester. I’m impressed with their ambitious plans to expand their business outside of Europe and look forward to working with them to grow our local economy. Whether it’s offering state of the art infrastructure at Eastman Business Park or a strong agricultural sector, the Rochester region can compete for new businesses with any part of the world.”
Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “I am delighted to see this joint venture come to fruition. It will not only provide a vital source of employment and economic opportunity for the local community, but also promote New York’s vibrant agricultural industry. The willingness of international companies to invest in multi-million dollar manufacturing projects in the region highlights the relative strength of our economy. I applaud Governor Cuomo and all local partners who worked to make this venture a reality.”
Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “This is more great news for Eastman Business Park, which is a critical component of our local economy. LiDestri Foods has been a leader in the revival of Eastman Business Park and their investments have produced hundreds of local jobs and promoted our significant agricultural assets. This new strategic partnership reinforces the County’s commitment to ventures like Love Beets USA that support locally grown farm-to-table foods.”
Senator Joe Robach said, “The addition of Love Beets is a win-win for the Rochester community because of its world-renown reputation and the potential to add 140 new jobs for our local workforce. This is the latest example of the incredible growth of LiDestri Foods and the evolution of Eastman Business Park, and a sign of more success to come for all parties involved.”
Greater Rochester Enterprise President Mark Peterson said, “G’s Fresh was drawn to our region’s rich agricultural assets and extensive food processing expertise. They have found an exceptional partner in LiDestri Foods to help accelerate the growth of Love Beets’ entry into the US market.”