Responding to the growing demand for healthy, ready-to-eat snack foods, Foodlink’s Value-Added Processing Center has added a second shift to ramp up its apple-slicing operations.
On Oct. 9, the Foodlink Community Kitchen launched a second shift, which allows its automated apple-slicing line to now operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (including time spent setting up the equipment, staff breaks, and clean up). The increased activity will allow Foodlink staff to produce — on average — 100 cases of sliced apples per day. There are typically 4-5 slices per 2.5-oz bag, and 100 bags per case.
Foodlink began slicing apples in 2012, soon after a study was published that indicated children were much more likely to eat apples if they were pre-sliced. Foodlink sliced apples manually for four years in its former kitchen on Joseph Avenue, before moving into its new space in 2017. The expansion allowed Foodlink to invest in an automated line. Today, it is an official New York Grown & Certified facility, and Foodlink purchases apples exclusively from local farms in western New York, predominantly Wayne County — one of the highest apple-producing counties in the nation.
Foodlink slices its branded apples, but also recent secured a contract for a private label (Zee Zee’s) from National Food Group (NFG), a company that provides apple products to schools through USDA entitlements.