This year marks the 150th anniversary for Campbell Soup, one of the largest processed food and snack companies in America. And the company’s impact has been felt locally over the years, as the Campbell’s Soup plant in Paris has been one of the region’s largest employers for decades.
After considering more than 25 potential site locations across the country, Campbell Soup purchased 529 acres of land in 1959, and the Paris plant officially opened in 1964, quickly becoming one of the most prominent businesses in the region.
Campbell initially made its iconic soup, bean and pasta products in Paris. The plant expanded production over the years and now makes Campbell condensed soups, Prego Italian sauces, Pace Mexican sauces, V8 beverages and a selection of refrigerated soups for retail and food service sales.
Since its early days, the company’s overall footprint has more than doubled in size, from nearly 700 acres to approximately 1,500.
The east plant, which oversees production of Prego and Pace sauces, was added to the facility in 1990, Campbell Soup corporate communications manager Amanda Pisano said.
Today, the plant has roughly 35 acres under its roof, including the east and west plants, warehousing and a can manufacturing facility.
In recent years, expansion has included the installation of a beverage line in 2009, the launch of refrigerated soup production in 2013, the opening of a modern customer test kitchen in 2013 and the start of single-serve beverage production, also in 2013.
The plant is the largest employer in the city of Paris, said Paris Economic Development Corporation executive director Michael Paris.
“I think Campbell’s is one of the most critical lifebloods to the city,” Paris said. “They are absolutely instrumental in the continued growth of our city, and I am eager to continue to partner with them and work with them in their future growth as well.”
And not only is Campbell vital to the continued growth and economic stability of Paris, but the plant is vital to the company’s operations as well, said Dave Parch, Vice President of Manufacturing, Campbell Meals and Beverages.
“As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, it is important to reflect on how we reached this significant milestone, and for us, it’s our people,” he said. Parch also formerly served as plant manager in Paris. “As home to one of our largest production facilities, our Paris team has been key to our past success and will continue to play an important role in our future.”
Locally, the plant is well known as an active member of the business community. It takes an active role in the community, from its support of local recreational sports and academic scholarships, to stocking local food banks and collecting school supplies for children in need, and much more.
“Campbell’s is integral to the city in more ways than one, and they really do so much for our local community,” Paris said.