Food processor to create 200 jobs in Halifax

Posted September 16, 2010 2:48 p.m. EDT

— A food processing company that has licensed technology from North Carolina State University will open a plant in Halifax County and create 200 jobs, officials said Thursday.

Empire Foods Inc. plans to lease a 35,000-square-foot production facility to be built by the county at the new Halifax Corporate Park and will invest $2.5 million in the plant over the next five years, officials said.

The technology licensed from N.C. State produces foods that are more shelf-stable. The products do not require refrigeration, but maintain the flavor, color and nutrients of fresh food, officials said.

The company plans to purchase fruits and vegetables from local and regional farmers and will initially use the technology to supply the military and restaurant markets, officials said.

“We are pleased that we are able to keep this technology in North Carolina where it was created," Greg Hatem, a Raleigh developer and chairman of Empire Foods, said in a statement. "Locating this project in North Carolina, we can look forward to continued collaboration with the university’s Food Science Department.

The average annual wage for the new jobs will be $28,418, plus benefits, which is higher that the Halifax County average of $25,532.

Empire Foods has qualified for a $400,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance that is matched by local governments to attract business projects. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment targets to obtain grant funds.