Slim-Fast Foods Company yesterday commissioned work to begin building a new $100 million, state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Tucson. The plant, which is due to be completed in July 2002, will employ up to 135 people and produce Slim-Fast Ready-to-Drink shakes for the U.S. market.

At the ground-breaking ceremony, Slim-Fast Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Art Peters said: ``The new plant is an important step for Slim-Fast. It shows we have strong growth plans and an ambition which is matched by the city council and local community.''

Slim-Fast selected the 85-acre site near the intersection of Rita Road and Interstate 10 because of the excellent infrastructure that has been established. The plant will also include a Distribution Center and has been designed with expansion in mind.

Mr. Peters added: ``We looked at several alternative sites but felt that the combination of location and potential of the people here in Tucson would greatly benefit our business. We understand the important role we will have as an employer in the region and we look forward to being part of the local community.''

Slim-Fast has already started a local campaign to recruit people to work for the company in the Tucson area.

Big-D Construction Corp. Salt lake City, UT, will serve as Developer for the plant, which will be only the second Slim-Fast plant in the world after its facility in Covington, TN.

Slim-Fast Foods Company, headquartered in West Palm Beach, FL, is a leading food company best known for its nutritionally balanced products. Slim-Fast is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, one of the world's largest consumer products companies, with sales in excess of $52 billion.