"We've experienced double-digit growth consistently over the past 10 years, fueled by the great taste of our Kettle(TM) brand Potato Chips," Tim Fallon, president North America of Kettle Foods. "Demand is particularly high in the East Coast where consumers still struggle to find our products on store shelves. We're about to change that. Building a plant in Beloit allows us to keep pace with demand while reducing the environmental impact of fuel and distribution."
“Demand is particularly high in the East Coast where consumers still struggle to find our products on store shelves. We're about to change that. Building a plant in Beloit allows us to keep pace with demand while reducing the environmental impact of fuel and distribution.”
Critical to the company's decision was the fact that Beloit is centrally located in one of the strongest Russet Burbank potato growing regions in the Midwest. Russet potatoes, prized for their rich flavor and natural sugars, are used exclusively by Kettle Foods in the making of their Kettle(TM) brand Potato Chips.
Workers are slated to break ground on the plant this April. When production begins toward the end of the year, the plant is expected to process 50 million pounds of Russet potatoes a year, boosting overall company production by 50 percent.
Kettle Foods holds the largest share, at 39 percent, of the natural potato chip market in mainstream U.S. grocery stores, according to ACNielsen. The company is growing faster in the Midwest and East than anywhere else in the country. In fact, in the East Coast market alone, sales for Kettle brand Potato Chips are up by nearly 50 percent in the past 12 weeks, more than double the natural potato chip category growth average of 19 percent, according to ACNielsen.
Not only will the plant's location help cut down on fuel use and cost, the new facility will be built to environmentally sensitive standards. Kettle Foods has been working with A. Epstein and Sons International of Chicago, Ill., to evaluate suitable locations for the facility, as well as plan for its design, construction and sustainable business practices. Already at its plant in Salem, Ore., the company installed one of the largest solar power arrays in the Pacific Northwest, restored nearby wetlands and currently recycles its used cooking oil into renewable biodiesel fuel used to power a fleet of company cars.
Salem Facility Also Expands, Gains New Leadership
Production at its flagship facility in Salem, Ore., also is getting a boost from a $2 million investment in new fryers next month that will expand the plant's capacity by 30 percent. The company has tripled production capacity since 1999, resulting in job growth of 112 percent. Kettle Foods currently employs 280 people at its Salem facility, compared to 132 in 1999.
To help manage its growth, the company recently promoted Marc Cramer of Salem, Ore., to the position of global chief financial officer. He'll oversee the financial management of both the company's North American and European operations. Cramer, who joined the company in 1998, was previously the general manager of North America operations.
About Kettle Foods
Founded in 1978, Oregon-based Kettle Foods is a privately owned company committed to producing great tasting, all-natural snacks with a caring commitment to its employees, craft and community. In doing so, it leads the industry as the No. 1 salty snack brand in natural supermarkets according to SPINS, with distribution throughout North America, Japan, Guam and Western Europe. Its manufacturing sites in Salem, Ore., and Norwich, United Kingdom produce more than 20 flavors and four varieties of potato chip offerings, eight flavors of organic tortilla chips and a variety of nut butters and trail mixes. Visit www.kettlefoods.com for more information.