SugarCreek: delivering culinary innovation

SugarCreek is a family owned food business that describes itself as a 51 year old start-up company. Founded in 1966, as a manufacturer of raw bacon, SugarCreek grew itself to be the largest independent bacon processor in the U.S.

Not satisfied with the status quo, the company continually innovated and expanded its product line through leveraging its authentic culinary expertise, proven capabilities to remain ahead of the latest food trends, and its innovative and ambitious culture.

Today, the company helps some of the world’s largest and best-known food industry companies develop brandworthy food solutions. SugarCreek is a diversified, innovative and flexible food manufacturer with six major facilities across the United States. SugarCreek's dramatic growth has been driven by a devotion to creating excellent products, with a longstanding commitment to sustainability, employing the latest technology and creating a safe environment for their customer’s products.

"My father started this business and we continue his legacy to this day; combining our expertise in food preparation, our passion for advanced methodologies in food safety, and our desire to be at the forefront of food product innovation," sais John G. Richardson, Chairman, SugarCreek. "The adherence to this mission brought us to deliver the Sous Vide cooking method to our customers."

Sous vide is a well–known method of cooking which means "under-vacuum" in French. The process seals the food in sturdy plastic bags which keeps in juices and aroma that would otherwise be lost in the process. Largely limited to high-end, small batch cooking, you might wonder how could this be translated into a large scale sous vide operation.

To support the expected demand, SugarCreek opened a 418,000 square foot facility in Cambridge City, Indiana, in 2015 to stamp itself as the largest sous vide line in the United States. "Being the innovators we are, we looked around the world and realized that sous vide could create an outstanding customer experience," sais Michael Richardson, COO. "We believe that sous vide preparation will revolutionize the quality of Ready-to-Eat (RTE) foods. It delivers several efficiencies including better yields, less waste, consistency, food safety and a product that is unrivaled beyond the kitchens of the finest chefs."

SugarCreek’s evolution and growth ambitions also meant they needed to develop a financial structure that would allow them to continue to co-develop with their customers, not only its sous vide footprint, but also its research & development culinary innovation center. With about $600 million in annual sales, it turned to ING for innovative financing solutions that would put them on track to double their annual sales by 2020. "A match made in heaven," is the way John Richardson describes the ING partnership. ING’s sector expertise, understanding the fluctuations in commodity pricing and their ability to syndicate the deal to a wider range of institutions created the perfect partnership.

The future of the food industry is booming, and SugarCreek and ING expect sous vide products to lead this growth. A growing population to feed, an increase in the farm to table movement and a shift in consumer demand to more high-end fast food options are a few of the reasons the future for sous vide is bright.