New owner of Freeze-Dry looking at ‘significant investment’ in Albion

Photo by Tom Rivers: Freeze-Dry Foods is based at 111 West Ave. in Albion, the former Lipton’s plant. Freeze-Dry was acquired by Thrive Foods.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 December 2022 at 9:57 am

ALBION – The new owner of Freeze-Dry Foods is looking to make a big investment in the Albion facility at 111 West Ave.

Thrive Foods in early September announced it acquired Freeze-Dry, which operated for the past 20 years in Albion at the former Lipton’s plant.

Freeze-Dry Foods specializes in freeze-dried products, including pet treats, proteins and ingredients. The products have a shelf life of up to 25 years because Freeze-Dry eliminates moisture and oxygen, while preserving nutrients, flavor, taste, color and aroma.

The company was honored in 2016 as the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year. It currently has about 60 employees.

The Orleans Economic Development Agency will be seeking state funding through the Community Development Block Grant program to assist Thrive with its investment in Albion, said Gabrielle Barone, the EDA’s vice president of business development.

She attended Monday’s County Legislature meeting and asked the Legislature to help facilitate the CDBG application. The Legislature set 4:25 p.m. on Jan. 24 as a public hearing for Thrive Foods which will seek the state assistance to help purchase machinery and equipment. The hearing will be at the legislative chambers of the County Office Building on Route 31.

Barone said the scope of the project will be detailed during the public hearing.

“They are looking at significant investment in equipment and employees,” Barone told county legislators.

Freeze-Dry operates out of a 240,000-square-foot facility, which previously was used by Lipton’s and then Ontario Foods.

“They want to refresh it,” Barone said about the complex across from McDonalds. “They want to rehab it.”

Thrive Foods recently expanded into a new facility in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Now the company wants to upgrade the Albion facility.

“We want them to stay in Orleans County and grow here,” Barone said.

She noted the CDBG program recently was used to help with three expansions in Medina at Zambistro, Takeform and Velocitii. The CDBG program is administered by the state’s Office of Community Renewal.

Lynne Johnson, the Legislature chairwoman, said the plan by Thrive Foods “is exciting news for Orleans County.”