BOLINGBROOK, ILL. — Late last week, North Star Foods Inc. and Quantum Foods LLC, announced plans to combine operations into one food company under the Quantum Foods name. Terms of the deal, which closed on Jan. 15, were not disclosed.

North Star Foods’ co-owners Mr. Thesing and Brad Arndt will continue in active leadership and customer contact roles in the combined meat and poultry processing operation. Several of North Star Foods’ remaining employees will also be working with Quantum Foods in operating, sales and research and development positions.

The new company will be capable of offering a more diverse line of custom-menu solutions for national and regional chains, including full-service and quick-service restaurants, the companies said.

“We will be able to harness the unparalleled industry knowledge, technologies and expertise within these two organizations to fully benefit the customer,” said Edward Bleka, Quantum Foods president, chief executive officer and founder. “This combination represents a very bold step as we seek sustainable long-term growth and the ability to deliver the best products and service possible. We also believe this move will accelerate the capabilities of Quantum Foods’ new products development and it will significantly differentiate us in the marketplace.”

“Combining both companies will enable us to immediately address our total customer needs and offer unique custom menus with a broad array of multi-protein options,” said Patrick Thesing, vice-president, North Star Foods and co-owner.

In April 2009, a fire destroyed North Star Foods’ meat and poultry processing plant in southeastern Minnesota resulting in the loss of 250 jobs. Quantum Foods has been one of several companies helping to serve North Star Foods customers since the fire.

A new food processing research center may be located in or near Saint Charles, Mr. Thesing said. The center would focus on developing innovative ways in providing protein foodservice products and mass production. Quantum Foods also has a Research and Development Culinary Center located at the company’s headquarters in Bolingbrook, Ill.

“The combination of these two companies will definitely accelerate Quantum Foods’ new products development capabilities,” a Quantum Foods spokesman told “And, the plans to open a food processing research center in or near Saint Charles, Minn., to develop even more innovative ways in providing protein foodservice products and mass production may very well lead to further diversification into new areas.”

Quantum Foods employs more than 1,500 people who work in two production plants and one distribution center on the Bolingbrook, Ill. campus.