Del Monte Pacific Limited (DMPL), will close two of its 10 remaining facilities in the United States and fire hundreds of employees as it implements its new "asset-light" corporate strategy.

In 2018, DMPL closed plants in North Carolina, Indiana and California due to falling sales in the packaged fruit and vegetable categories.

DMPL, a Filipino-owned firm, controls Del Monte Foods, Inc. (DMFI), one of the largest producers, distributors and marketers of branded processed food in the U.S. retail market. Several Del Monte brands are market leaders and the brand is synonymous with canned pineapples and pineapple juice.

DMFI facilities to be closed are located at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota and Mendota, Illinois. DMFI said production at these facilities will stop at the end of the current packing season. In addition, DMFI's facility at Cambria, Wisconsin will be sold as an operating facility after completion of the season.

Currently employed at Mendota are 31 salaried and 106 regularly hourly employees. This plant has a peak seasonal headcount of 550 employees. Sleepy Eye employs 22 salaried and 50 hourly employees. There are as many as 400 employees here during the processing season.

DMFI will also sell manufacturing assets at its Crystal City, Texas facility. It intends to transfer production at this site to other countries later this year. The Crystal City facility has 90 full-time hourly, 19 salaried and 300 seasonal employees, according to DMFI.

Production at Sleepy Eye and Mendota will mostly be transferred to other Del Monte production facilities in the U.S. DMPL said the closures will give it the ability to fully utilize the capacity of its existing production facilities and increase its focus on branded growth and innovation.

"This decision has been difficult and has come after careful consideration," said DMPL Managing director and CEO Joselito D. Campos, Jr. This restructuring is a necessary step for us to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

"Our asset-light strategy will lead to more efficient and lower cost operations. We are committed to doing all we can to provide the affected employees with resources and support."

Including the soon to be shut facilities at Sleepy Eye and Mendota, DMFI operates 10 plants in the U.S. and two in Mexico. Its Philippine subsidiary operates the world's largest fully-integrated pineapple operation encompassing a 26,000-hectare pineapple plantation in the Philippines and a processing factory.

DMFI also operates a beverage bottling plant and a frozen fruit processing facility in the Philippines.

Its heritage brands consist of Del Monte, S&W, Contadina and College Inn. It also owns other brands such as Fruit Naturals, Orchard Select, SunFresh and Fruit Refreshers.

Del Monte Pineapples Boxes of Del Monte-brand pineapples are seen in a cold storage room at Sun-View Market February 3, 2006 in Niles, Illinois. Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images