Blount soups up products to feed growth

HOT STUFF: Blount Fine Foods President and CEO Todd Blount, with a couple of the company’s new products, on its Fall River production line, from left, Beef PHO and Coconut Chicken & Noodle soups.
 / PBN PHOTO/DAVE HANSEN
HOT STUFF: Blount Fine Foods President and CEO Todd Blount, with a couple of the company’s new products, on its Fall River production line, from left, Beef PHO and Coconut Chicken & Noodle soups.
 / PBN PHOTO/DAVE HANSEN

Fastest Growing Companies | $75M and above | 1st place
CEO (or equivalent): Todd Blount, president and CEO
2017 Revenue: $338,253,858
2015 Revenue: $233,695,825
Revenue growth: 44.7%


Blount Fine Foods is one of those quintessential New England companies, and is family-owned to boot. For more than a century it’s kept a keen eye on what its customers want – quality heat-and-eat soups, sauces, sides and entrees – and fed demand.

With a more than $100 million increase in sales from 2015 to 2017, the company’s future is bright, its growth strong. And with construction wrapping up on a major addition to its Fall River facility, Blount Fine Foods is positioning itself for decades ahead.

In the late 1880s, the Blount family started an oyster-packing company in Barrington. After World War II it became Blount Seafood Corp., and by the late 1940s it dealt mainly in bay quahogs – with Campbell Soup Co. as a major client.

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Jump ahead 50 years, during which time Blount fed its growth via diversification – moving into stuffed clams and mussels – making bisques and chowders for clients that include Legal Sea Foods, Chart House and Shaw’s supermarkets. (Its soups, sides and chilis are now sold under the Panera Bread name as well.)

Within the last decade or so, the company expanded its scope even more. There were acquisitions along the way. Blount Foods President and CEO Todd Blount took the helm in 2001, seeing promise in soups, which would allow the company to go past bisques and chowders and into meat soups, with opportunities into more markets and more growth.

In the early 2000s, the company moved to new space in Fall River, changing its name to Blount Fine Foods in 2009.

The company has ramped up the healthful nature of its foods as well, nimbly responding to these market demands without major overhaul. Gluten-free offerings have not been a challenge, for example.

“We’ve just naturally been that way,” Blount said. “Soups don’t have a lot of flour. … It’s not a lot to change to convert it. … We substitute starch tapioca.

In 2015, the company began its “Clean & Simple” effort to eliminate certain additives, preservatives and flavorings from its products, the same year it bought a plant in Texas, while solidifying its local presence – planning a 50,000-square-foot, fresh-food product center in Fall River that is now nearly complete.

Blount said the fresh-food center is where restauranteurs and retailers such as Wegmans Food Markets Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc. can sample products and plan menus, collaborating with Blount specialists. With organic, gluten-free and vegetarian options, it’s an opportunity for chefs and retailers to see how Blount’s full line of products can be customized to meet the needs of their customers.

“We have nutritionists on staff; our culinary team are all Johnson & Wales [University] grads,” said Blount. “We’re creating a program for retailers to provide diverse options for ready-to-eat meals.”

Blount also said the new facility is a great venue in which to build and strengthen business relationships.

“We’re asking them to come to Fall River. With restaurants, we hope they will be locked in for a lifetime and come back as things change,” he said. “When they see people making the product, it goes a long way.”

According to the Blount website, the new addition in Fall River should add about 50 full-time jobs to the 300 or so employees now at that location.

New Blount Fine Foods products include ramen noodle bowls and broths, Blount said, bone broths being a popular food trend. Blount’s doesn’t include sodium or MSG.

“Everyone’s trying to be relevant. Our goal is to help them be relevant. A customer has a very specific reason to stop at these stores: diverse, nutritious, ready-to-eat meals,” Blount said.

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