HOUSTON — Riviana Foods Inc. is building a new facility in Memphis, Tenn., that will produce ready-to-serve, microwavable rice products under the Minute Rice brand. The ready-to-serve rice plant will be integrated into Riviana’s 400,000-square-foot processing and packaging plant in Memphis, which began operation in the first quarter of this year.

Riviana is in the process of consolidating operations from its Houston and former Memphis plants to the new facility. That transition is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2011.

Commercial production at the ready-to-serve plant is expected to begin in mid-2011. Riviana said the building that will house the ready-to-serve production may accommodate a four-fold increase in capacity.

Bastiaan de Zeeuw, president and chief executive officer of Riviana, said the expansion is in response to double-digit growth in sales of Minute Ready to Serve rice products in every year since their launch in 2006.

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

Minute Ready to Serve rice is available in seven different varieties and additional line extensions are planned.
With the expansion, Riviana has grown its Memphis workforce from 179 employees in October 2006 to current employment of 249.