River Ranch Fresh Foods Inc. in Salinas, CA, laid off 16 people over the past two weeks including Bruce Knobeloch, who was vice president of marketing.
Senior Marketing Manager Kim St. George called the layoffs a "normal cutback" and indicated that they represent the difficult economic times facing the industry. She said that a number of firms in the Salinas Valley have laid off employees in recent weeks, and this action by River Ranch is no different. She confirmed that Director of Sales Tim Meissner has also left the company but said that it was unrelated to the cutbacks. "He left to pursue another opportunity," she said. "He was not part of the layoffs."
Ms. St. George said that the 16 employees represent about 2 percent of the River Ranch work force, calling the cutbacks "insignificant" when compared to the firm's total workforce.
River Ranch is recognized as a leading processor of private-label packaged salads and fresh-cut vegetables in the United States. It also has its own branded products including "River Ranch" salads, "Popeye Fresh!" spinach salads and "River Ranch" fresh-cut vegetables as well as a broad-line of commodity items.
River Ranch was originally a privately owned company, tracing its roots to the Bruce Church Co. It was bought by The Albert Fisher Group PLC in the mid- 1990s, but was sold in 2002 to a group that included senior management.