Israeli-based MCP finds perfect location to build on manufacturing success of food storage containers
Eyal Tenenbaume, CEO of MCP Performance Plastic Ltd. in Portage, beams when a client or new acquaintance recognizes the distinct style and design of the tray and container products his company manufactures.
Throughout the company’s 42-year history in Israel, where primary manufacturing headquarters are based, MCP has been known for the specialized compartment thermoform food-packaging trays, especially those used by the major airlines for in-flight food service.
“We are the developer and manufacturer of advance custom co-extruded thermoplastics for a wide range of packaging solutions for the food industry,” said Tenenbaume, who originally hails from Israel and joined MCP in June 2007.
“But throughout the years, needs change, and now the food-service containers for airlines like American and United have become a much smaller part of our business,” he said. “Today, we make trays used for everything from muffins baked by large commercial bakeries to the compartment containers used by Seattle Sutton Healthy Eating for client meal distribution.”
The three types of materials manufactured by MCP to create the more than 200 unique container designs are Crystallized PET (CPET), Amorphous PET (APET) and Polypropylene (PP). Clients choose from varied products appropriate for a range of temperature needs, especially freezing, as well as refrigeration and oven/microwave suitable use. While most of the trays created are intended to be covered with a sealed film wrap, other variations also can be paired with snap-on lids.
“Our trays are made so they can be used for a complete cycle of use from frozen product to oven or microwave for heating and then the food can be consumed right from the container,” Tenenbaume said.
MCP estimates it produces between 150 million and 200 million trays and containers annually for global sales, but between 50 million and 60 million of those pieces were manufactured for U.S. orders before 2017.
“With so much of our business based in the U.S., the company knew we needed to expand to an additional location,” said Tenenbaume, who served as MCP’s vice president for marketing and sales for exports while in Israel before becoming CEO of MCP’s U.S. production facility in Portage.
“When we examined where our customers are based, the Midwest was the best place for us,” Tenenbaume said.
Tenenbaume narrowed possible locations in both Illinois and Indiana for MCP’s new Midwest plant, but it was the support and invested interest of Portage officials and the business community that impressed him most. MCP’s Portage facility at 6750 Daniel Burnham Drive, Suite E, in the Ameriplex industrial park, includes a large warehouse and manufacturing units, office space and room for future expansion.
“MCP came to Northwest Indiana as an Israeli company looking for their first U.S.-based production facility,” said Amy Parker, business development manager for the Portage Economic Development Corp. “Their company invested more than $11 million in a 91,000-square-foot building in Ameriplex, (and) today MCP is the gold standard for extrusion and thermo-forming equipment supplying custom ready-made meal trays for industry.”
Parker said Tenenbaume, who lives with his wife and two children in Munster, and his company have been an ideal addition to Northwest Indiana.
“The city of Portage and Portage EDC are happy to have a diverse and global company like MCP reside in our hometown,” Parker said. “Portage continues to grow in the global economy, which includes MCP, who is an environmentally aware company, a local steward for our community, and we are very excited to see them continue to grow and call Portage, Ind., home.”
Once the company committed to Portage, the first employee Tenenbaume hired was Brooke Kubath of Chesterton as human resources manager.
“When I was hired, there were only two employees, myself and Eyal,” Parker said. “Now we have more than 20 employees and growth with seven work shifts.”
Tenenbaume says, within five years, manufacturing operations in Portage will double with a continued emphasis on using recycled production materials.
“MCP uses recyclable and environmentally friendly packaging materials in accordance with both European and U.S. market demands,” Tenenbaume said.
Tenenbaume and his employees also enjoy the creative aspect of the company’s product possibilities.
“Even though we have a beautiful catalog of more than 200 designs in all shapes, sizes and colors, we can also create unique products based on a customer’s design request,” Tenenbaume said.