You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Bob Evans focuses on convenience foods, side dish production

The recent Bob Evans Farms Inc. plant expansion in Xenia Twp. is part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations and expand convenience food and side dish production, according to company officials.

In late April, the company announced a $6.15 million expansion of its 30,000-square-foot sausage production facility on Birch Road which is expected to create about 22 additional jobs and $800,000 payroll in Greene County.

“It really solidifies Bob Evans’ commitment to the county and the region, and it really solidifies their presence here for years to come,” said Pete Williams, the Greene County Development Department acting director. “They chose our site over a site in Hillsdale, Mich. for the expansion.”

Over the last four years, Bob Evans side dishes and food service production has grown while retail sausage and frozen foods has shrunk, according to company data.

Side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese, accounted for 29 percent of production while food service accounted for 14 percent in 2009. In 2013, side dishes accounted for 39 percent of production while food service accounted for 29 percent.

Retail sausage production dipped 12 percentage points from 36 percent in 2009 to 24 percent in 2013. Frozen foods, such as the company’s line of breakfast burrito products, dropped 9 percentage points from 14 percent to 5 percent over the same time period.

“Refrigerated side dishes and convenience products are in a fledgling category with growth potential — it has a household penetration of just 10 percent,” said Mike Townsley, Bob Evans Foods, Inc. president. “While we didn’t invent the category, we believe growth will come from the strength of the Bob Evans brand. It gives the meal preparer permission to pick up and buy. There’s a high expectation of quality.”

Bob Evans most recent results released in March 2014 showed profits, over a three-month period ending Jan. 24, were $5.7 million, compared to a $55.1 million net loss during the same period in 2013.

The Xenia Twp. facility is one of four plants that remained after Bob Evans decided to consolidate operations and shut down five facilities including plants in Springfield and Bidwell. In 2012, the company announced plans to close its 38,000 square-foot Springfield facility which produced sausage, soups and gravy. About 50 people were expected to lose their jobs.

That same year, the company also closed plants in Fullerton, Calif. and Richardson, Texas.

“Over the last several years we have been transforming our BEF Foods segment for profitable growth,” said Steven A. Davis, Bob Evans Farms, LLC chairman and CEO. “With the consolidation of our manufacturing facilities and the acquisition and subsequent expansion of our Lima, Ohio, plant, we continue to grow our side dish business, which is now the largest part of our foods segment. This growth, and the growth of our food service business, present us with a host of strategic opportunities. We believe vertical integration of the Lima facility puts us in the best position to further capitalize on this trend.”

In Aug. 2012, the Bob Evans purchased Kettle Creations in Lima, a refrigerated food manufacturer, for about $50 million and started a $27 million expansion to add 50,000 square feet to the facility in the fall. Two months later, the company opened a new transportation center in Springfield creating 110 jobs.

“Bob Evans is working to ignite the growth of our foods business, and our newly announced expansion (in) Xenia, where we produce our heritage product of fresh sausage, also reflects our continued commitment to making that happen,” Davis said. “This is a strategic investment, designed to capitalize and build on the asset that currently exists in this facility – strong community partnerships, an outstanding workforce and significant opportunity for long-term growth.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Business

Miamisburg candy store now selling pickle juice soda
Miamisburg candy store now selling pickle juice soda

Are you ready for Pickle Juice Soda Pop? Miamisburg-based Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop is now selling dill pickle-flavored pop in stores and online. The vintage-style store at 42 South Main St. in downtown Miamisburg has more than 200 bottles of specialty sodas. “If you’re the kind of pickle lover who relishes all things pickled, this...
Waffle House co-founder dies a month after business partner
Waffle House co-founder dies a month after business partner

Both of the founders of Waffle House have died, just two months apart. Co-founder Tom Forkner died earlier this week at 98 years old, just two months after his business partner Joe Rogers Sr. died in early March. Rogers was 97 years old. “Tom will be remembered as a man of honesty and integrity,” Waffle House Chairman Joe Rogers Jr...
Ohio’s largest 100 employers in 2017: Walmart tops the list
Ohio’s largest 100 employers in 2017: Walmart tops the list

Walmart is back on top as Ohio’s biggest employer, regaining the No. 1 spot from the Cleveland Clinic, which usurped the giant Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer last year, according to a new list of the state’s top 100 employers. Walmart — with 173 retail operations, including nearly two dozen in the Dayton area — has 50,500...
PHOTOS: Nearly $1M Washington Twp. home for sale
PHOTOS: Nearly $1M Washington Twp. home for sale

A Washington Twp. house that features panoramic views of a wooded lawn is on sale for nearly $1 million. The home, located at 10765 Falls Creek Lane in the Waterbury Woods subdivision, is listed for $999,000 by Coldwell Banker Heritage Realtors. It sits on three-fourths of an acre property on a cul-de-sac. The 8,350 square feet of living space features...
Time running out on Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations
Time running out on Premier, UnitedHealthcare negotiations

Negotiations between southwest Ohio’s largest health system, Dayton-based Premier Health, and UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurance company, remained at a standstill Thursday with the first deadline for their contract to expire rapidly approaching. UnitedHealthcare’s contract with Premier hospitals is set to expire...
More Stories