Phillips opens R&D, manufacturing facility in Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland-based Phillips Foods is bringing some of its manufacturing back in-house with the opening of a new R&D and manufacturing facility near its current office.

Phillips executives recently cut the ribbon on the 15,000-square-foot facility, which features a large test kitchen on the other end of the building that houses its current corporate offices, John Baxter, vice president of retail sales and marketing, told SeafoodSource.

Importantly, the facility will allow Phillips to bring a portion of its manufacturing that had previously been handled by co-packers back in-house, Baxter explained. The 105-year-old company closed a 250,000-square-foot plant in Baltimore a couple years ago, and began using more co-packers for production of its value-added products, including soups and appetizers.

“It was larger than what we needed at the time,” Baxter said. 

The new facility, which had been a foodservice commissary for a division of Sodexo, is retrofitted with equipment from the company’s old plant.

Expanded manufacturing capacity “will open up some new opportunities for us,” Baxter said. 

“It could help with some frozen items as well as refrigerated items – including the deli department, possibly. It will allow us to potentially work with other proteins, and not just seafood,” he added, declining to reveal details on planned new products.

“There are a lot of discussions about which projects are going to take place first,” Baxter said.

The facility will be used for shorter runs and will complement – not replace – processing at Phillips’ Asian plants. 

“Competitively, it wouldn’t make sense to bring the labor-intensive items here [to the U.S.],” Baxter said.

In addition to manufacturing, the space is designed to “re-engage and further our R&D stateside with a nice culinary kitchen. We can bring in new and current customers and engage them on projects we haven’t been able to work on previously,” Baxter said.


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