ConAgra Foods Expands in West Michigan

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One of North America’s leading food companies acquires Elan Nutrition, adds jobs to region

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Food processing continues to be one of our strongest industry clusters. Adding a global leader like ConAgra Foods to that segment brings not only jobs, but also new innovation, development and growth opportunities for West Michigan.

ConAgra Foods, Inc., maker of such leading brands as Healthy Choice, Chef Boyardee, Hunt’s, Orville Redenbacher’s and Banquet, is expanding the former Elan Nutrition facility, investing approximately $73 million and creating more than 200 jobs in the next five years.

ConAgra Foods manufactures private label bars at its facility in Lakeville, Minn., and acquired Elan Nutrition – a manufacturer of snack and nutrition bars – in April, retaining its employees. The upgrade of the Elan facility at 4490 44th Street in Kentwood includes the purchase of new equipment and machinery, and will allow ConAgra Foods to expand its manufacturing capacity and R&D capabilities.

The acquisition and the facility will support ConAgra Foods’ investment in the wholesale bar market.     

The Right Place, Inc. in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) and the city of Kentwood, assembled an incentive package valued at approximately $9 million to support ConAgra Food’s enhancement of the Kentwood facility. ConAgra Foods currently employs more than 500 throughout Michigan, and this latest investment will add many new jobs in Kentwood over the next year.

Over the next five years, ConAgra Foods plans to make a significant investment in the training and education of its Kentwood workforce, adding a Center of Excellence Research and Development group. These plans could create more than 200 additional jobs in Michigan.

ConAgra Foods officials cited West Michigan’s growing food processing industry as a factor in convincing the company to invest in the area.

“Food processing continues to be one of our strongest industry clusters,” noted Right Place President Birgit Klohs. “Adding a global leader like ConAgra Foods to that segment brings not only jobs, but also new innovation, development and growth opportunities for West Michigan.”

About The Right Place, Inc.
The Right Place, Inc. is a regional non-profit economic development organization founded in 1985 and supported through investments from the private and public sector. Its mission is to promote economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity and technology in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. For more information visit: http://www.rightplace.org

About ConAgra Foods
ConAgra Foods, Inc., is one of North America’s leading food companies, with brands in 96 percent of America’s households. Consumers find Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunt’s, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Peter Pan, Reddi-wip and many other ConAgra Foods brands in grocery, convenience, mass merchandise and club stores. ConAgra Foods also has a strong business-to-business presence, supplying frozen potato and sweet potato products as well as other vegetable, spice and grain products to a variety of well-known restaurants, foodservice operators and commercial customers. For more information, please visit http://www.conagrafoods.com.

CONTACT(S):
Tim Mroz
Vice President, Marketing Communications
The Right Place, Inc.
Direct: 616.301.6791
Cell: 616.881.1038

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Tim Mroz

Tim Mroz

616.881.1038
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