The J.R. Simplot Company temporarily shut down a french fry line at its Caldwell, ID, plant September 29.
This is the second cut for the Caldwell plant. On September 12 a line was shut down and 87 employees of the plant’s 530 workers were laid off.
Simplot’s Caldwell plant has two fry lines and two lines for hash browns and other frozen potato products.
The company says the second cut is not permanent and when demand picks up the line will be restarted.
The Heyburn, ID, fry plant will be permanently closed by the company this year. Rumors keep circulating in western Idaho that Simplot might close the entire Caldwell plant this fall along with the Heyburn, plant.
Industry observers have said that Simplot has used the Caldwell plant as its swing plant, meaning production could go up or down, depending on the markets.
Simplot spokesmen say the industry has not seen growth in either domestic or international markets for the past two years.
French fry demand is an industry-wide problem, but no state has been more affected that Idaho and no company more than Simplot, industry observers believe.