It’s a milestone year for Litehouse Foods, one of the community’s largest employers and manufacturers. It was 25 years ago — in 1997 — when the Idaho-headquartered company came to town after it merged with Lowell-based Chadalee Farms.
In 2017, Litehouse expanded its Lowell facility and today, the 375 employees who work at the Foreman Street location can make nearly all the company’s more than 600 products. Overall, 40% of Litehouse’s total business is produced here in Lowell
“We are incredibly grateful to be a member of this community and proud of the work and contributions of our Lowell employee owners,” says Evan Ormiston, director of plant operations.
Community and Employee Focused Company
Part of what makes Litehouse unique is that is owned by its employees.
“Being an employee-owned company means that no single person or entity is a majority shareholder of company stock,” Ormiston explains. “Instead, Litehouse’s stock is allocated among employees through shares.”
According to Ormiston, being employee-owned means everyone in the company is encouraged to have an “ownership mentality” and feel empowered to make decisions that improve the customer experience and satisfaction.
Beyond that, Litehouse is also committed to being a good neighbor in the communities where its facilities are located. “Through our High 5 initiative, 5% of the company’s net operating income is given back to communities through charitable contributions,” Ormiston says.
In Lowell, that has meant sponsoring local events and initiatives such as Pink Arrow, the Riverwalk Festival and the Lowell Showboat Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series. The company is also a major contributor to the development of a new YMCA branch in Lowell.
Most Popular Products Made Here in Lowell
Litehouse is a top U.S. producer of refrigerated salad dressings, and its distinctive jars can generally be found in the produce section of supermarkets. However, dressing isn’t the only product made by the company, and Litehouse isn’t its only brand.
Liethouse products include cheese, freeze-dried herbs, caramel, condiments and sauces. The items are sold under the following brands:
- Veggiecraft Farms
- Sky Valley
- Green Garden
Still, Litehouse Homestyle Ranch Dressing & Dip remains the company’s most popular product and more than 780,000 gallons of it were produced in Lowell during 2021. And Litehouse Caramel – another popular product and a regular freebie passed out at events such as the Lowell Expo – is made exclusively at the Foreman Street facility.
Looking to the future, Ormiston says the company is focused on meeting customer demand for products that are versatile and nutritionally dense. A new line-up of Litehouse Dips & Spreads with cleaner ingredient labels and varieties such as Avocado Ranch and Spinach Parmesan are one innovation to come out of that commitment to meeting consumers’ evolving tastes and needs.
“Like other employers across the country, we have been challenged with labor and supply chain issues,” Ormiston says. However, despite these obstacles, Litehouse continues to create and produce a full line of dressings, dips and more.
For 25 years, Litehouse has been a mainstay in the Lowell community and that isn’t expected to change anytime soon. According to Ormiston, “Every day we are driven by our mission to deliver a memorable eating experience, positively impact the communities we touch, and provide our employee owners with opportunities to succeed.”