Freshpet, producer of refrigerated dog and cat food, is expanding its Pennsylvania presence, increasing its pet food production operations at its current location in Hanover Township. The expansion will create 100 new full-time jobs in the next three years. The expansion includes the renovation of an existing 50,000-square-foot building and a 90,000-square-foot addition. The $100 million strategic capital investment is expected to support Freshpet’s growth in the United States, Canada and Europe by creating total capacity for approximately $540 million in net sales from the facility. The facility “Freshpet Kitchens 2.0” will make greater use of automation to improve quality, safety and reduce costs. Production start-up is slated for the second half of 2020, subject to the timing of permits and construction.
“Freshpet’s growth has been a significant contributor to the Lehigh Valley economy, and we’re excited that Freshpet has chosen Pennsylvania for its expansion so we can continue to be a part of its ongoing growth,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said. “The 100 high-quality manufacturing jobs this project will create is great news for Northampton County workers and their families. Additionally, Freshpet’s focus on buying its ingredients locally means this expansion is good for Pennsylvania’s farmers and food ingredient processors as well.”
Freshpet currently manufactures in a 100,000-square-foot facility on 14.2 acres in Hanover Township. To accommodate projected growth, the company will complete renovations, construct an addition and purchase new equipment. While the expansion will create 100 new full-time jobs in the next three years, the company expects to retain a further 200 jobs once the facility is running at full capacity. Today, approximately 221 Freshpet employees are working on manufacturing, research and development and other support roles on the Freshpet campus. Freshpet also expects the manufacturing expansion to increase the purchase of locally produced ingredients by approximately two-thirds and support additional jobs at local third-party warehousing and logistics providers. The facility will also include R&D space and a pilot plant facility to enable test runs of new products.
“The rapid growth of the Freshpet brand requires us to bring online additional capacity by mid-to-late 2020 to support our continued growth and enable us to serve more pets,” said Billy Cyr, CEO of Freshpet. “It also allows us to provide more career opportunities for the dedicated and talented employees who have helped deliver the success we have had so far. We are very excited to have the opportunity to further advance our manufacturing expertise and expand our Freshpet Kitchens campus in Pennsylvania with the support of our local and state governments.”
Freshpet received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development for a $500,000 Pennsylvania First grant and $300,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs. Additionally, the project will receive support from the Manufacturing Tax Credit program as well as the Workforce Development Board and PA CareerLink. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania, in collaboration with the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).
“Freshpet is a growing national company that makes its innovate pet food products right here in the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation. “We are pleased the company is expanding its manufacturing capacity here, and are grateful to the state and Northampton County leaders for working to make that possible. Manufacturing continues to be the second biggest part of the Lehigh Valley’s economy.”