Foremost Farms USA will close its cheese plant in Chilton, Wis., a victim of outmoded technology pushed into oblivion by the coronavirus pandemic.
The plant, built in the 1940s, makes sliced provolone and other Italian cheeses, mostly for foodservice sandwiches. The pandemic has dried up the foodservice market, and Foremost decided it could cover the Chilton plant’s production with output from newer, more advanced plants.
“Closing the facility is difficult for us. But in looking at our operations holistically, we don’t think making long-term investments in the plant make strategic sense for our network,” CEO Greg Schlafer said in a statement. “We have other plants with upgraded technology and optimized logistics that will drive significant cost efficiencies.”
The company is working on a severance package for the company’s 93 employees. Chilton is about 75 miles north of Milwaukee.
Foremost Farms, No. 93 on Food Processing’s Top 100©, had an estimated $850 million in food sales in 2018.