As part of Blount Fine Foods‘ investment in product innovation, the company recently promoted William Bigelow from a member of the research and development (R&D) department to chief innovation officer.
Blount Fine Foods is a Fall River, Massachusetts-based manufacturer of soups, entrées and side dishes for retail and foodservice.
According to Todd Blount, president and CEO, the appointment also positions the company for continued stability and is another example of Blount’s long-standing strategy of investing to develop leaders from within.
“Since joining our newly formed R&D department in 2002, just four years into his career, William has been relentless in growing and elevating this area for the company,” said Blount. “Along the way, he has been instrumental in launching more than 1,000 new or improved products, and in recent years, his innovations have allowed Blount to expand into new market segments and geographies.”
Bigelow will serve the customer and sales team by translating national and global trends and consumer insight into opportunities to create new products. He will also use the product and innovation process to contribute to maintaining food safety and continued operational success. In addition to product-based R&D, Bigelow will continue to have responsibilities in business development, pricing, forecasting and customer service; and will add the additional responsibilities of packaging innovation and leading a future acquisition search to include relevant and opportunistic products, geographies and brands.
“As consumer behaviors, patterns and preferences continue to evolve, there is an opportunity for companies like Blount to expand the focus of innovation beyond the culinary trends of taste, texture, flavor and nutrition and into facets of the eating experience like packaging, preparation and eating occasions,” said Bigelow. “These kinds of challenges are the things that allow me to pop out of bed every morning excited to go to work at a company and with a team I have been passionate about since the early days of my career.”
“William has been a valued executive in this company for several years,” said Bob Sewall, EVP of sales and marketing for Blount. “He has an excellent rapport with our customers who know him well, trust his insights and look to him for innovative thinking.”
“One of the important values we want to bring to the marketplace is the ability for customers to look for us for new ideas,” added Todd Blount. “As William and his team rev up their innovation engine, we will have more to bring to our customers, and they will have even more reason to engage and partner with us.
Bigelow holds a bachelor of science in nutrition from the University of Connecticut as well as a master’s degree in food science and nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. He has been the recipient of many business and industry awards, including being named to Providence Business News’ “40 Under 40” list in 2015.
Blount Fine Foods, a family-owned and operated company that has been processing food since 1946, produces more than 900 products for restaurants, institutions, retailers and club stores in all 50 states. Blount manufactures more than 600 proprietary soup recipes, including 75 varieties of clam chowder alone.
Customers include national restaurant chains that have its custom soups made for them in accordance with its secret recipes. Similarly, the deli departments of many large and small supermarket chains offer Blount-created, hot-to-go soup selections as well as fresh, store-brand, pre-packed soup cups.
Blount also carries a full line of fresh and frozen soups sold to club stores and retailers nationwide under the Legal Sea Foods and Panera Bread brands.
The company is the largest manufacturer of lobster bisque in America was the first brand to launch restaurant-quality, single-serve, grab-n-go fresh soups at retail and has full lines of organic and gluten-free soups and sides.
Blount operates production facilities at its Fall River headquarters and also in Warren, Rhode Island, and McKinney, Texas. Blount generates more than 200 million servings of premium soups each year.