Recent Plant Expansions: October

By Dave Fusaro, Editor in Chief

Oct 27, 2014

Premium pet food maker Blue Buffalo Co. in August cut the ribbon on its new Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing facility in Joplin, Mo. Located on 34 acres, the 416,000-sq.-ft. facility includes a dry pet food manufacturing plant and a distribution center. It will create 150 full time jobs in the town, which was hit by a catastrophic tornado in 2011.

ConAgra Foods Inc. is spending some capex funds. The company completed a $200 million expansion of its Lamb Weston frozen potato plant in Boardman, Oregon. The addition increases its capacity for making french fries and other frozen potato products, and will create more than 100 jobs. And the company plans a $9 million expansion of its 122,000-sq.ft. Rensselaer, Ind., plant, where Orville Redenbacher popcorn brand is processed. Up to 80 jobs will be created in that expansion.

Dole Fresh Vegetables announced plans for a $9 million expansion of the company's Springfield, Ohio, plant to add three new packaging lines and one processing line to produce spinach and other tender-leaf packaged vegetable products. The expansion will allow approximately 600 jobs to remain and create almost 140 new jobs.

Hostess Brands broke ground in July on a 36,000-sq.-ft. warehouse adjacent to its Emporia, Kan., plant. The company recently invested $30 million in the location, which included a new $25 million bakery line that can produce 1.6 million Twinkies per day. The plant also makes Hostess Cup Cakes, Donettes, Coffee Cakes and Greek Yogurt Cakes.

Kraft Foods plans to invest $100 million to add a product line and upgrade technology at a Missouri cheese production facility, with the support and partnership of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, the city and county governments and city utilities, Plant Manager Todd Sherman said.