Secaucus, New Jersey-based Freshpet Inc. is expanding its Lehigh Valley operations with the groundbreaking of a second manufacturing plant, which it refers to as a Freshpet Kitchen.
Employees in Freshpet Kitchens blend fresh meats, vegetables and fruits from local farms in an environment modeled after facilities that make food for people.
The new 90,000-square-foot plant will add to an existing 50,000-square-foot Freshpet Kitchen building, which is also undergoing renovations as part of a more than $84 million project on Commerce Way in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV in Hanover Township, Northampton County.
“The expansion of the Freshpet Kitchens campus reflects our commitment to continually improving the way we make Freshpet – and will help us achieve our goal of changing the way people feed their pets,” said Billy Cyr, CEO of Freshpet in a release.
The expansion includes a number of improvements to the facilities’ operations, which have a goal of improving the quality of the pet food made by Freshpet and the safety of the equipment used by its employees.
Similar to the existing Freshpet Kitchen facilities, the site will recycle all rainwater and rely on wind power for energy. Cyr noted that Freshpet Kitchens also send no waste to landfills.
Freshpet said it plans to have the new space operational in the third quarter of 2020. It estimates hiring around 100 people by the time production begins and an additional 100 when the two Kitchens are operating at full capacity.
Freshpet received funding for the expansion from the state Department of Community & Economic Development, including a $500,000 grant and $300,000 in tax credits that the company will receive upon creation of jobs.
Additionally, the project will receive support from a state manufacturing tax credit program, as well as the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board and Pennsylvania CareerLink. There was also a $100,000 Job Creation Grant that was awarded to Freshpet by the Northampton County Industrial Development Authority.
Cyr noted that the company is growing. Freshpet has nearly doubled its sales every three years since 2009.