March 16, 2017

Cains Foods closing 44-year-old Ayer plant

Cains Foods's production facility in Ayer, just north of the rotary where routes 111 and 2A meet.

Cains Foods, a century-old label for mayonnaise, dressings and sauces, has ended production at its 100-worker plant in Ayer, several years after it was bought by an Illinois company.

The plant stopped production in January, and Cains owner TreeHouse Foods Inc. plans to close the facility entirely by August, a spokesman said Wednesday.

TreeHouse called the closure "the result of ongoing manufacturing network analysis by the company to maintain competitive costs, service levels and product quality." Products that have been made in Ayer will be moved to other production facilities, with no disruption in supply expected.

The Cains brand will continue as a Northeast regional product.

TreeHouse Foods has estimated costs of closing the plant at $6.5 million.

Cains, which started in 1914 as a Boston cheese distributor, was bought for $35 million in 2013 by TreeHouse Foods, which is based in the Chicago area and has more than 16,000 employees worldwide. Cains had operations in Ayer since 1973.

At the time of the sale, TreeHouse said it had no plans to change operations in Ayer.

TreeHouse Foods manufactures packaged foods, such as cereal, condiments and snacks, at more than 50 manufacturing facilities across the United States, Canada and Italy. Several are in New York, but none in New England.

Its products are mainly private labels for retail chains, but it also includes the brand names Del Monte, Naturally Fresh and Flagstone Foods.

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