St. Tammany Food Manufacturing Company Announces Major Expansion
SLIDELL, La. – On May 3, BEC Co-Packers announced a $2.5 million expansion of its operations and footprint in the community. The food manufacturing company is based in eastern St. Tammany Parish.
The expansion entails the purchase and rehabilitation of a vacant 60,000 square-foot building and 3.1 acres of land located at 61025 Highway 11. The building, which has been out of commerce for 15 years, will be divided to allow 9,000 square feet to serve as space for new production lines and 49,000 square feet to be used for warehousing. This expansion will bring BEC’s total footprint within St. Tammany Parish to 115,000 square feet.
The company currently works out of the Johnny F. Smith Business Park in Slidell, which is less than a mile from the planned facility. It will keep this location for its corporate headquarters.
“Our company is aggressively focused on the future, and I am proud that we are able to continue to grow right here in St. Tammany Parish,” said BEC Co-Packers CEO Mike Boudreaux. “We hold our products to the highest standards and pride ourselves on continuously enhancing our in-house capabilities to deliver the best quality products to our clients and consumers. This project is reflective of the high value we place on excellence in our field of work.”
BEC currently has three production lines capable of filling glass and plastic bottles, jars and jugs. The company specializes in both hot- and cold-fill products. Recognizable local brands and products that are made at the BEC facility include Louisiana Fish Fry and Zea Rotisserie bar sauces.
This summer, the company plans to add a fourth production line for sports and hydration drinks. A fifth production line may be added in early 2024.
BEC currently has approximately 65 employees. The planned expansion will create a need for approximately 35 to 50 new employees per shift. Within six months of the start of production in the newly renovated facility, the company expects to transition to operating two daily shifts. Each new additional production line would require approximately the same number of new employees. Ultimately, this project is expected to add an estimated 125 to 150 jobs to St. Tammany Parish.
BEC said it plans to keep its operations in St. Tammany Parish long-term.
While BEC primarily provides services as a “co-packer,” or contract packager, for multiple clients, it also develops new products in its test kitchen and under the direction of the company’s own food scientists and research and development team. The company plans to produce its own teas, flavored waters, sports drinks and hydration drinks. Its first product is called “A-Game.”
“This project has shown itself to be a model economic development project for St. Tammany Parish on all fronts,” said Chris Masingill, CEO of St. Tammany Corporation, which helped facilitate the deal. “From a growth-oriented, high-quality manufacturing and distribution company, to supportive and engaged elected officials, to the plans to rejuvenate an under-used greyfield site, this project has all the right ingredients for success. Additionally, I will note that, because of the highly sensitive timeline required by this project, moving this expansion project forward would not have been possible without the support of parish government and parish council members, such as Ronald Randolph, Chris Canulette, Arthur Laughlin and, not least of all, Council Chairman Jake Airey..”
“Seeing another St. Tammany-based company expand in our parish is a wonderful sign of progress,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “I am thankful for BEC Co-Packers’ continued investment into our community, which will bring more jobs and more opportunities to our Parish.”
This story has been updated to include quotes from Chris Masingill, CEO of St. Tammany Corporation.