A Jefferson Parish food manufacturer received recognition Wednesday for its positive impact on the local economy and its exemplary role in providing healthy meals to school children. The White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture commended MMI Culinary Services on its ability to meet the guidelines of the Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling Program, a system that provides food manufacturers the option to include a USDA approved, standardized food crediting statement on their product label.
Based out of the City of Kenner, MMI is a customized food manufacturer specializing in proprietary soups, sauces, gravies, marinades, dressings, sides, entrees and desserts. The company, which is Louisiana’s only USDA national commodity processor, produces products for multi-unit operators, national restaurant chain accounts, retail outlets and large foodservice venues. Their core clientele consists of medium to large restaurant chains poised for rapid growth.
MMI Culinary Services got its start in 1986 as a crawfish catering business. More than 25 years later, the small startup has grown into a successful venture that services 4,000 restaurants around the world and more than 200 schools in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. The company continues to grow and reach new economic milestones with no signs of slowing down.
On Wednesday, company CEO Mike Maenza unveiled the completed expansion of MMI’s headquarters, a project that has been in the works since 2011. The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) assisted MMI throughout the project, providing the company with access to the Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs Programs.
“We are so proud of the accomplishments that MMI Culinary Services has achieved in its many years of business in Jefferson Parish,” says JEDCO Executive Director Jerry Bologna. “Through business retention, tax incentives and financing services, JEDCO has remained invested in the progress of this exceptional company. MMI is vital to the continued success of the thriving Jefferson Parish economy.”
“We have partnered with JEDCO to expand our facilities in order to meet the demand for healthy and delicious meals,” says Maenza. “This expansion will allow us to feed over 100 million school meals to students over the course of the year. The facility expansion and upgrades and our cutting edge engineering and state of the art equipment enable MMI to advance both production and research and development in order to continue our mission of delivering nutrition to America’s students.”
Maenza also announced a new property acquisition that will allow MMI to consolidate distribution. The recently purchased facility is located on Airline Highway in Kenner. The company plans to retrofit the facility with refrigeration capabilities and has hired a food and beverage consultant to help design those plans. In the future, MMI may utilize the space for R&D and additional manufacturing.