Blue Bell Creameries has restored products to a majority of stores in its home state of Texas, completing phase three of its five-step market re-entry plan after a Listeria contamination at company plants forced a nationwide recall earlier this year.
“Phase three reaches the remaining majority of Texas as well as central and southern Alabama,” says Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “This is our largest phase to date but we will work as quickly as we can to get our products in stores. Freezers will be refilled as needed throughout the week.”
To begin phase three, Blue Bell brought back 215 of its employees who were put on paid furlough earlier this year. The company says approximately 1,000 furloughed workers, company-wide, will be back on the job by the end of 2015.
Blue Bell is once again making ice cream at all three of its production facilities located in Brenham, TX; Broken Arrow, OK; and Sylacauga, AL. “We have increased our production capacity which allows us to build enough inventory to meet the consumer demand in our first two phases and move into phases three and four within a week of each other,” Dickson says. “With three of our plants now in production we also have plans to expand our flavor selection.”
Production is currently limited to a handful of Blue Bell ice cream flavors including Buttered Pecan, Cookies ’n Cream, Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla, Peppermint, Pistachio Almond and The Great Divide. According to the company, 12-pak Homemade Vanilla Cups and 12-pak Homemade Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate Cups are also available in stores. Phase four will cover Louisiana, Jackson, MS and the surrounding area and is scheduled to begin on Dec. 21.