SOUTH BELOIT - TreeHouse Foods is installing a new cookie line and will be hiring up to 100 people in the coming months.
TreeHouse Foods currently has 300 employees. Its South Beloit plant manufactures soft-bake in-store bakery cookies and animal crackers.
"In the past year we increased our staffing by a third. And we are expecting to increase this year," said Emily Moertl, senior human resources manager.
Because of continuing growing employment the company has enlisted the help of Manpower staffing agency. Hourly jobs start at $12.09, with the top pay for a maintenance person being $27.50. Those who want to apply should contact the human resources department, apply at treehousefoods.com or contact Manpower.
Moertl attributes the increase in volume to increased demand, largely due to one of its biggest customers, Kroger supermarkets. As Kroger has had more acquisitions, it has increased buying TreeHouse Foods cookies in South Beloit for its private label as well as other grocery items from TreeHouse plants in other states.
Other large customers of TreeHouse include Walmart and Costco.
The South Beloit plant makes chocolate chip, peanut butter, almond, sugar, oatmeal raisin, candy, chocolate chunk, double fudge and triple chocolate fudge cookies as well as organic animal cookies.
TreeHouse Foods not only continues to employ people, but is focused on being supportive to the community. In December, Plant Manager Karen Bell along with Amanda Schoen, a staffing specialist at Manpower, distributed cookies to kids at Converse and Merrill elementary schools in Beloit. Both schools received enough cookies for all the students as well as the teachers.
TreeHouse Foods acquired the private label business of ConAgra Foods, which included the cookie-making plant at 1450 Pate Plaza in South Beloit in addition to about 20 other sites in 2016.
Part of the acquisition included access to 140,000 square feet of space at the former Alcoa building at 1 Reynolds Drive in Beloit.
In 2012, ConAgra Foods acquired Ralcorp Holdings, which operated 17 plants including Bremner Corp. The plant operated under Bremner Corp. from 2005 to 2012. Bremner Corp. had purchased the South Beloit plant which housed Bake-Line Group and Pate Foods. Bake-Line had declared bankruptcy and closed in 2004.