The Ruffin Mill Industrial Park at Walthall and Chesterfield County is getting another boost from the Mediterranean. Sabra Dipping Company, the country’s leading hummus manufacturer, will expand its food manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County and establish a Center of Excellence research and development facility on the company’s 49-acre campus at 15881 Port Walthall Ct. Just as its current operation, its expansion will be Silver LEED certified, an envied environmental standard.
Sabra will immediately begin a significant expansion of its hummus production capacity, enabling the addition of two new lines, a packaging automation system, water waste systems and related plant improvements. The factory expansion will increase the Chesterfield plant’s production capacity by 50 percent in response to the continued increased demand for Sabra hummus. The expansion is expected to add 100 new jobs to the facility.
Hummus is a product made from chick peas that are whipped to a creamy consistency with various natural ingredients added. Sabra also makes a number of other dips including salsas,veggie dips, guacamole and vegetarian sides.
The Center of Excellence will establish best practices on all aspects of culinary, food science, production, engineering, packaging, supply chain and product delivery, and also lead groundbreaking agricultural initiatives with local universities, including research on chickpeas, fruits and vegetables, to increase the use of local resources. The 20,000-square-foot facility will feature a state of the art culinary center, ideation space, a pilot plant, offices and research centers. Construction will begin in the second quarter of 2012.
These and associated investments will total $28 million dollars and create an estimated 90 new jobs over the next few years.
Governor Bob McDonnell met with Strauss Group (the primary Sabra partner) officials in Israel during his November 2011 marketing mission.
Speaking about last week’s announcement, Governor McDonnell said, “As the Sabra brand continues to grow, this significant expansion is testament to the success Sabra has found in Chesterfield County since choosing Virginia in 2008 for its state-of-the-art food manufacturing plant. In addition, the new Center of Excellence represents innumerable opportunities for food science and research. Strengthening relationships with existing businesses are of utmost importance, and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to work closely with company officials on this tremendous project.”
“The Sabra Center of Excellence will be home to experts in areas of food technology, agriculture, nutrition, manufacturing and distribution and is the next important step in the outstanding growth of our company,” said Ronen Zohar, CEO of Sabra. “The fact that we are building it in Virginia is a testament to our belief in the people, the community and the resources available here. This research and development center will push the envelope and enable us continue to expand and define the possibilities in the dips and spreads category in terms of innovation, taste, health and beyond.”
Governor McDonnell approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Chesterfield County with the project. Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.
Dan Gecker, Chairman of the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors, said, “Chesterfield is proud to have Sabra Dipping Company as one of our leading corporate citizens. This increased investment and growth will result in new and exciting high quality products and, most especially, jobs. Thank you, Sabra, for your confidence in and commitment to Chesterfield County.”
Visit Sabra at www.sabra.com, on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/sabra and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sabra.