COVID: Spurs for Food Manufacturing Facilities

By Thomas R. Cutler

This article on food manufacturing originally appeared in this month’s issue of Manufacturing Outlook. If you are interested in reading more articles like this, Click Here or visit Manufacturingoutlook.com to read the entire issue and receive a limited-time FREE SUBSCRIPTION.

Regardless of the state of COVID or perhaps because of the Delta variant, the growth of food manufacturing and new plants have never seen the trajectory experienced in Q2 2021. The size and scope of these new facilities and the jobs which follow are almost unprecedented. Food Engineering is tracking all the groundbreaking and grand opening news.

Everything is bigger in Texas
Great Lakes Cheese and the Development Corporation of Abilene celebrated the official groundbreaking of a 286,500 square foot, state-of-the-art cheese packaging and distribution plant that is expected to employ 500 people in Abilene. Cuisine Solutions announced the opening of a new $200 million, 315,000 square foot production facility in San Antonio, and the facility is expected to add 300 jobs to the company’s existing facility. Cold Creek Solutions announced a new state-of-the-art, 374,560 square foot cold storage facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth intralogistics region. The company has already leased nearly half of its facility to Southwest Warehouse Services. Other states seeing food manufacturing facility growth as well. Hilmar Cheese Company plans to build a $460 million production facility in Dodge City, Kansas and the new facility will create 247 full-time jobs. Diamond Pet Food based in Ripon, California will add a fourth production line within its existing building, expanding production from 780 tons of kibble per day to 1,040 tons per day.

New Food plants 2022 and beyond
Monogram Foods started construction on a new 135,000 square foot production facility in Haverhill, Massachusetts. This is Monogram’s third Massachusetts location and will feature 109,000 square foot multi-temperature warehouse space plus a 26,000 square foot sandwich assembly area. The facility is expected to be completed by mid-2022. Frito-Lay is investing $235 million to expand its manufacturing site in Killingly, Connecticut, creating 120 jobs. Beginning in 2022, the project is expected to be complete in 2024. House Foods America plans to build a tofu production plant in Louisville, Kentucky which will create more than a hundred jobs. Work is expected to begin in 2022 and be completed by 2025. Cereal Ingredients Inc. plans to build a new 80,000 square foot manufacturing facility in St. Joseph, Missouri. The $24 million facility is expected to open first quarter of 2022 with nearly 50 employees.

Freshly Inc., provider of freshly prepared meals in the U.S., signed a lease for its second assembly and distribution facility in East Greenwich, New Jersey. The 234,000 square foot facility will be Freshly’s largest distribution center, equipped to assemble and ship 1.6 million meals per week at peak capacity, and is scheduled to be operational by February 2022. The company will continue to operate its Linden, New Jersey facility, which employs 70 people.

Ninth Avenue Foods will invest approximately $103 million to locate a 260,000 square foot dairy and plant-based beverage processing facility in Columbus, Indiana. The facility should open in March 2022.

Mars Petcare is investing $200 million to expand its Lebanon, Tennessee operation to support the production of cat and dog foods by adding five new automated lines and 108,000 square foot of space, creating 90 new jobs. Construction will be complete in 2022. The food home delivery trend along with plant-based options shows no sign of slowing for the next several years as long as consumer demand holds steady or grows.

Author Profile:
Thomas R. Cutler is the President and CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., celebrating its 23rd year. Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 8000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. TR Cutler, Inc. recently launched three new divisions focusing on Gen Z, the African manufacturing sector, and manufacturing in the entertainment sector. Cutler authors more than 1000 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Nearly 5000 industry leaders follow Cutler on Twitter daily at @ThomasRCutler. Contact Cutler at trcutler@trcutlerinc.com.