Courtesy of Hill's Pet Nutrition
HillsPetN_RibbonCutting Tonganoxie Kansas

Hill’s Pet Nutrition Opens New Wet Pet Food Plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas

Oct. 16, 2023
New, smart manufacturing facility will produce more than 170 varieties of wet pet food over 365,000 square feet.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has officially opened its newest manufacturing plant in Tonganoxie, Kan., according to an announcement shared by the company. The division of Colgate-Palmolive celebrated the grand opening of the 365,000-square-foot smart facility, which sits on more than 80 acres, will increase production capacity for canned pet food and offer opportunities for continued expansion of Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription Diet brands, the release said.

The plant’s construction was announced in June 2021, and the company stated at that time that the plan represented an investment of more than $250 million. The grand opening announcement did not share final investment numbers.

Features of the smart manufacturing facility include the use of artificial intelligence to power a digital food-safety vigilance system; automation and robotic devices; enhanced food-safety systems; and end-to-end digital process/safety monitoring. These advancements will help improve speed to market by shortening the production cycle and offering long-term flexibility, the company said.

The plant is expected to crank out more than 170 varieties of wet pet food in what the plant’s director of manufacturing called “an entirely ‘enclosed system’ from ingredient mixing to cooking and container filling — designed to prevent food exposure to environmental contaminants.”

The plant has been awarded LEED Gold certification, representing the first Colgate-Palmolive plant to achieve that standard, and it features a water reclamation system to reduce overall water usage by treating and recycling wastewater on-site to be repurposed for future use.

The project has created more than 100 jobs in Leavenworth County, Kan., according to the release.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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