BusinessLaird Superfood to outsource manufacturing operation, close Sisters plant, lay off 46...

Laird Superfood to outsource manufacturing operation, close Sisters plant, lay off 46 by end of year

Laird Superfood to outsource manufacturing operation, close Sisters plant, lay off 46 by end of year

(Update: Adding CEO comments, details)

SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) — Sisters-based Laird Superfood, Inc. announced Wednesday it has entered into a co-packer agreement to outsource the manufacturing of its powdered creamers and hydration products, meaning it will lay off 46 employees and close its Sisters manufacturing operations by the end of the year.

“This strategic pivot to an outsourced manufacturing model will significantly improve our financial profile by reducing fixed overhead and simplifying our business, enabling us to focus on maximizing our commercial growth potential,” said Jason Vieth, the company’s president and chief executive officer, in a news release.

In a letter to employees, Vieth said the decision was made due to “an inability to produce at this facility at a rate that is competitive with the industry, which is exacerbating significant financial pressure currently on the business.”

The letter lays out a set of termination dates, starting Dec. 12 and ending Jan. 31. Vieth said they will offer severance benefits to eligible employees and coordinate outplacement support to help them find new employment.

The company was ranked third among Sisters’ largest employers in this year’s listing from Economic Development for Central Oregon, with 142 employees total, up from 132 last year and 87 in 2020. Black Butte Ranch and the Sisters School District were first and second.

Vieth told NewsChannel 21 Thursday that the company already had “right-sized” its Sisters operations from 147 employees at the start of the year down to 83 and was still able to produce the same amount of product, having determined it “over-hired in prior years for the size of the business.”

After the further reductions, Lair Superfood expects to have 38 workers total, including about 10 still in Central Oregon, the CEO said, adding that they haven’t disclosed who will be co-manufacturing the products.

“Our biggest worry” is about helping those employees find new jobs, Vieth said, and is reaching out to other manufacturers in the area and letting them know “we have some really phenomenal employees available.”

In the news release announcing the move, Vieth said, “Increasing gross margin is a strategic imperative for Laird Superfood, and this is an important step towards our committed long-term target of 35%.”

“While we’ve made considerable progress on commercial and operational initiatives over the past several quarters, ongoing challenges in the macro environment make the shift to third-party manufacturing an essential move in order to be more responsive to our customer demand while fully aligning our cost structure with the current state of the business.”

“We are grateful for the support of the Sisters, Oregon community and our dedicated employees who have helped to build the Laird Superfood brand,” Vieth said. “Discontinuing our manufacturing operations was an extremely difficult decision. We are deeply committed to supporting our employees during this transition and will provide all affected team members with severance and outplacement services.”

The company received a takeover offer of $3 a share in August from investment bank EF Hutton, a week after announcing a first-half net loss of $19 million, according an online report from Just Food. Another online report indicated the share price for the NYSE-listed firm dropped from $57 per share last December to $2.60 in August. It fell nearly 9% Wednesday and ended the day at $1.70 a share.

Laird Superfood, Inc. said it creates award-winning, plant-based superfood products that are both delicious and functional. The company’s products are designed to enhance your daily ritual and keep consumers fueled naturally throughout the day. The company was co-founded in 2015 by the world’s most prolific big-wave surfer, Laird Hamilton.

Laird Superfood’s offerings are environmentally conscientious, responsibly tested and made with real ingredients. Shop all products online at and join the Laird Superfood community on social media for the latest news and daily doses of inspiration.

The post Laird Superfood to outsource manufacturing operation, close Sisters plant, lay off 46 by end of year appeared first on KTVZ.
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