Wholesome Harvest investing $22.1 million in bakery
Wholesome Harvest Baking plans to invest $22.1 million in new equipment and a new artisan bread production line at its Roanoke plant. The Virginia Jobs Investment Program (VJIP) will retrain more than 300 bakery employees so they can operate the new machinery.
Wholesome Harvest may not sound familiar, but some of its products may. Ever hear of Boboli pizza crust? Arnold Sandwich Thins? Thomas’ English Muffins? Sara Lee? Wholesome Harvest Baking makes all those, among other products.
The company’s history goes back more than a century to the Canada Bread Co.’s 1911 founding. The company expanded into the United States in 1996. In 2014, it became a subsidiary of Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo, which claims to be the largest baking company in the world, doing business in 22 countries across three continents.
The company’s website describes Wholesome Harvest as a major provider “of quality frozen and [partially baked] products to retail operators and in-store bakeries” offering packaged baked goods and producing private-label products for a number of grocery stores. It employs 1,400 people in seven bakeries across North America.
“For nearly 20 years, Wholesome Harvest Baking has provided gainful employment to hundreds of residents of the Roanoke Valley and also been a strong supporter of infrastructure development within the Roanoke Centre for Industry and Technology, including the installation of sidewalks and initiation of bus service to the park,” says Roanoke Mayor Sherman P. Lea Sr. “I am delighted to see Wholesome Harvest’s further commitment to the community by announcing this expansion. It’s a good thing for our city — not just for our city, but for the whole valley and I’m all about that.”
Wholesome Harvest Baking President Dan Curtin said at the time of the expansion announcement, “We value our people who work in the Roanoke community and believe that a successful company is built on the talents of our many associates. We are proud to partner with the VJIP to provide our associates with quality training and are committed to fostering the personal and professional growth of our associates to provide our customers with exceptional products.”