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56 workers losing jobs at Pfeiffer Foods

A Niagara County salad dressing maker is laying off up to 56 workers over the next few months as work is shifted to affiliated plants elsewhere in the country.

Pfeiffer Foods Inc., which makes salad dressings under the Pfeiffer brand, said the exact number and date of the layoffs are not yet known, but said they are expected to occur by March. The company, located on Lake Street in Wilson, said the cuts began in September, according to a statement from plant manager John Follick.

Pfeiffer is a division of T. Marzetti Co., which essentially is the specialty foods subsidiary of Lancaster Colony Corp., a publicly traded company based in Columbus, Ohio, that makes and sells food, housewares and automotive supplies. The Pfeiffer work will be shifted to other Marzetti facilities, Follick said in the statement.

He declined to elaborate further.

Samuel Pfeiffer originally developed his dressings for his chef salad in a Buffalo restaurant called the Marine Grille. He expanded the varieties in the late 1950s and began selling them through local supermarkets, eventually spreading down the East Coast. The company was acquired by Marzetti, and today makes 26 versions.

Marzetti, whose roots are also in salad dressings, today sells Romanoff caviar, condiments, sauces, marinades, Jack Daniel's mustard, croutons, other salad toppings, desserts, dips, egg noodles, and frozen baked goods. Its other brands include Chatham Village, Cardini's, Sister Shubert's, Texas Best, Reames, Mamma Bella, Girard's and InnMaid.

Lancaster Colony was formed from the 1961 merger of several small glass and housewares makers, which today make glassware and candles for retail and wholesale customers. The company went public in 1969 and bought Marzetti to enter the specialty foods business.

e-mail: jepstein@buffnews.com

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