US rice processor Riviana Foods is to expand its production in Memphis with the addition of a new facility to make ready-to-serve products under the Minute brand.

Riviana, a subsidiary of Spain’s Ebro Foods, said the facility will be integrated into its 400,000 sq ft plant in Memphis, which started operations earlier this year.

The company is in the process of consolidating its operations at a site in Houston and its former Memphis plants into the new facility. The move is expected to be complete by the end of March. Production at the ready-to-serve plant is scheduled to start in the middle of 2011.

Riviana said the fresh investment will create 22 jobs and said the building that will house the ready-to-serve production can accommodate a “four-fold” increase in capacity.

President and CEO Bastiaan de Zeeuw said Riviana had decided to develop the new plant after sales of Minute ready-to-serve products grew by “double digits” every year since their launch in 2006.

“Since its introduction, we have sourced this range of product through our parent company, Ebro Foods in Spain while we evaluated market response,” de Zeeuw said. “This investment will result in substantial savings in both freight and import duties.”

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