GROWING CAPABILITIES: Todd Blount, center, president of Blount Fine Foods since 2000, has invested heavily in the food manufacturer’s ability to adapt to the fast-changing consumer food marketplace, including by supporting fast product development by the company’s research and development team, including R&D chefs Benjamin Murray, left, and Thomas Gervasi.
PBN PHOTO/RUPERT WHITELEY
By Jennifer Salcido
Blount Fine Foods is one of the region’s most recognized family businesses. It has been processing food since 1946, starting with frozen shellfish. The Blount name signifies strength in manufacturing traditions, but its explosive growth also proves that there’s a forward-thinking strategy at play.
The successes in Blount’s recent past and the firm’s optimistic corporate outlook have earned it many recent awards and accolades from sources including the Family Business Association, Ernst & Young, Boston Business Journal and Providence Business News. The company has operations in Warren and Fall River.
Todd Blount, president of the company since 2000 when he took over the reins from his father, Ted, said that there are three major forces behind his company’s continued success. First and foremost, the company has changed its product line to ensure that it stays relevant.
Now, the company makes 350 soups from proprietary recipes, including 75 varieties of clam chowder, premium side dishes and specialty foods. It produces 140 million servings of soup a year. It has been quite a journey.
“When we were making frozen shellfish, there was always the challenge of limited market size and availability,” Blount said. “We’ve figured out how to make more products that are more applicable in the future, with unlimited growth potential.” The company’s soups and custom foods are branded as well as for private labels at restaurants and retail locations.
The commitment to quick and responsive expansion of its offerings is a welcome outcome of this corporate philosophy. Blount says that unlike other companies that have products in gestation internally for long periods, his company turns out new products that are made to the specifications of its customers, supported by its sales-focused research and development department.
“We have a three-to-six month R&D cycle. The cycle in prepared foods is very short, so you have to take a little bit more risk, and put some products out that may or may not be perfect,” Blount said, “But part of what makes us great is being flexible and testing things live and trying not to make too big of a packaging investment so if it doesn’t work, we can discontinue those things.”
Blount credits the company’s consistent investment in its facilities and technology as the second reason for its continued success. Blount hasn’t just paid lip service to keeping up with the times; he’s pumped significant capital into making Blount Fine Foods’ technology and facilities worthy of the manufacturing renaissance of which they are a part.
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investing in equipment and automation,
single-serve refrigerated cups of soup,
learning and development department,
commitment to employees