Ruiz manufactures the El Monteray products

Ruiz manufactures the El Monteray products

Mexican food and snack firm Ruiz Food Products is investing US$55m in its first East Coast manufacturing facility.

Conversion of the former Heinz plant, located in Florence County, will start immediately. The site will manufacture a variety of Ruiz' nationally distributed El Monterey and Tornados products in 2015.

"Our expansion strategy included establishing a manufacturing facility on the East Coast. Our products are in high demand with significant growth on the East Coast; and for us at Ruiz Foods, it's all about customer service. After conducting an initial search, we quickly narrowed our choice to this facility in Florence, South Carolina. My compliments to the State of South Carolina, the people of Florence County and the Florence County Economic Development Partnership - their enthusiasm, cooperation, and flexibility made it possible to make our decision quickly," said Rachel Cullen, president and CEO of Ruiz Food Products.

A statement issued by the South Carolina Department of Commerce said "over the next several years" Ruiz Food would employ more than 500 staff across plant management, building and manufacturing equipment maintenance, facilities management, cold storage, food preparation and assembly, quality assurance, mechanical and electrical maintenance and repair, stocking and inventory, shipping and receiving, accounting, clerical, administrative, and janitorial.