CHICAGO – Fontanini Foods, a unit of Hormel Foods Corp., announced the company will furlough nearly 150 of its 500 workers until business at the company improves.

The company, which serves foodservice venues such as restaurants, hotels, sports arenas, colleges and universities, cited the dramatic decline in foodservice business driven by the global pandemic as the reason to furlough a portion of its employees. Fontanini said all affected team members will continue to receive company health benefits during the furlough.

“As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it is having an unfortunate impact on our lives and on our business,” said John Kempen, plant manager, Fontanini Foods. “While the company has made every effort to keep our production running as usual, due to market conditions, we have been faced with the difficult decision of placing some of our valued team members on furlough. Our dedicated employees have been working hard over the last several weeks and we thank them for all they are doing as essential workers. We fully expect this furlough to be temporary and look forward to bringing our employees back to work as soon as we are able.”

Chicago-based Fontanini specializes in authentic Italian meats and sausages, in addition to pizza toppings and meatballs. Hormel Foods acquired Fontanini Italian Meats and Sausages from Capitol Wholesale Meats Inc. for $425 million in 2017.