KANSAS CITY — The impact of Hurricane Harvey on bakery operations across Texas ran the gamut as of Aug. 28, with some facilities still shut down and others bracing for disruptions. Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, leading to heavy flooding in many parts of Texas, with Houston particularly hard hit.
The nation’s fourth-largest city has been hit with more than 20 inches of rain since Aug. 25, and some forecasts have called for another 30 inches of rain to fall in southeast Texas over the next few days. With additional rain forecast, even the baking companies that have been mostly unscathed from the storms were on high alert to the possibility of potential challenges going forward.
Bimbo Bakeries USA, the nation’s largest baking company, has a major presence in Texas with numerous bread and snack cake plants in the state. The company said it has felt varying degrees of disruption from the storm.
“Our San Antonio location is back up and running, and we are working as quickly as possible to restore operations at our Houston location,” the company said on Aug. 28. “The safety of our associates is our top priority, and we are working diligently to return products to the market.”
Another major baker, Flowers Foods, Inc., took steps ahead of the storm and continues to assess the situation as it develops.
“Prior to the hurricane’s landfall Friday and through Saturday, our team and independent distributors worked around the clock to keep retail store shelves stocked and food service customers served with fresh bakery products,” said Paul Baltzer, managing director of communications at Flowers Foods. “Currently, our two bakeries in Houston remain dry and are operational. Both closed early Sunday morning as roads started to flood. We’ve asked team members to stay home or find shelter until (it is) safe to return to work.
“Flowers bakeries in the surrounding area are fully operational and assisting as needed. Those bakeries are also reaching out to relief agencies with products to assist those in need.”
At CSM Bakery Solutions, the hurricane did not lead to any major disruptions, but Dennis J. Murphy, vice-president and chief communications officer, said that could be subject to change as flood waters disrupt travel routes in the region.
Meanwhile, at H-E-B Grocery Co., the company’s Corpus Christi facility sustained a brief downtime over the weekend due to the storm, but by Aug. 28 was up and running to fulfill the company’s bread, buns and rolls needs.
Lone Star Bakery, Inc., a San Antonio-based maker of biscuits, brownies, bundt cakes, cinnamon rolls, fried pies, kolaches and ring cakes, has managed to avoid disruptions so far, said Kay L. Grimes, corporate attorney for the company.
“Our two manufacturing plants are located in China Grove, Texas, which is just southeast of San Antonio, Texas,” Ms. Grimes said. “We did not sustain any damage from Harvey as of yet. I qualify that because according to the Weather Channel, Harvey is predicted to turn around and hit the San Antonio area Tuesday night with major rain and hail.”