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03/17/2021

Fruit, potato companies join to amp up supply of sweet potato fries

The products for private brand development come from a joint venture between Russet House, a private brand leader in Canada, and Cardinal Foods in the U.S.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Cardinal Foods, a frozen fruit and vegetable supplier out of North Carolina, and Russet House, a leader in private brand sweet potato products in Canada, have entered into a joint venture that includes the development of a new 106,000-sq.-ft. facility.

The food processing plant will be in Burgaw, N.C., where Cardinal Foods is headquartered, and the joint venture will operate as Cardinal Foods. The two will join forces to become one of the largest producers of sweet potato fries and sweet potato products including for store brands.

Russet House specializes in steam blanching technology that helps its sweet potato products retain their natural color, nutritional value and flavor, all in a clean label sweet potato fry and more. The company will carry this into the new plant in North Carolina.

“We welcome this joint venture with Cardinal Foods to expand our capacity having been in a sold out position the past few years at our plant in Huntingdon,” said Leopold Moyen, president of Russet House. “Combining our strengths will allow us to grow while increasing support to our existing customers. This expansion will support new product innovation which is a core strength.”

Cardinal has its own sweet potatoes business to go with its beets, blueberries, butternut squash and more that are sold to manufacturers, retailers and foodservice clients to develop their own products with. The new facility will help triple the production of sweet potato fries and will be able to meet the demand in plant-based items.

“Our processing capabilities allow us a continued focus on quality with additional capacity to provide a superb product while continuing to service growers across the eastern United States,” said Corey Barnhill, president of Cardinal Foods.