Nestlé Purina PetCare announces an estimated $450 million investment to open a new factory in Eden, North Carolina, to meet increasing demand for its high-quality, nutritious pet foods.
This expansion is part of a broader growth plan for Purina that began last year with the grand opening of the company's newest wet pet food factory and distribution center in Hartwell, Georgia. The new Eden factory will join Purina's network of 21 existing manufacturing locations across the U.S. and will become operational in 2022.
"Eden is Purina's first manufacturing operation in North Carolina, and through this expansion we build on our more than 90-year history of making science-based dog and cat foods that pet owners trust," said Nina Leigh Krueger, President, Nestlé Purina U.S. "Despite the challenging times we have all been living in, Purina has remained resilient. This strategic and long-term investment demonstrates our commitment to providing high-quality nutrition for pets. We're thankful for the great partnership at the state and local levels, and we are excited to be a part of this community now and for many years to come."
"North Carolina's manufacturing workforce is strong, and this announcement is an important new phase in Nestlé Purina's growth," said Governor Cooper. "This company's global reputation for quality products, innovation, sustainability, and corporate citizenship fits well with our state's workforce, economy, and the business community."
Located along the Virginia border, the new factory in Eden, North Carolina will revitalize a former brewery, transforming it into an innovative, technically advanced pet food manufacturing facility. Preliminary plans call for Purina to invest $450 million to renovate the existing structure in Rockingham County and produce leading dry dog and cat food brands, including Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets.
"At Purina, we are passionate about supporting the communities where we live and work and we look forward to bringing that passion to Rockingham County," said Nolan Terry, Vice President, Manufacturing, Purina. "The property is in good working condition and we have an incredible opportunity to transform this into a world-class pet food facility. We also see great potential to work with a highly skilled workforce in the region and provide a chance to start a new chapter of their career at Purina. Great people and a great location is a win-win."
The factory will reside on 1,300-plus acres near the border of North Carolina and Virginia and be approximately 1.3 million square feet in size. Purina plans to employ more than 300 people at its new factory location by 2024 while also increasing its use of third party employment and local and regional economic development. Many of the jobs at Purina's new factory will include professional staff, production operators, technical staff and engineers.
While investing in its operations, Purina is committed to making pet care products in an environmentally responsible manner, as the company aspires to in all of its 21 U.S. factories. Purina's new operations will be designed with sustainability at the forefront, including a commitment to send zero waste for disposal, and production processes designed to recover and reuse heat and water. Purina is also striving to make the facility 100 percent powered by renewable electricity in the shortest practical timeframe, while supporting the company's ambition for zero environmental impact in company operations by 2030.
Purina conducted a national search for its newest factory location and explored multiple potential sites in North Carolina and other states as part of this project. After a detailed analysis, the proposal from Rockingham County, the City of Eden and North Carolina state officials provides Purina the ability to serve pet owners and retain and attract top talent over the long term.
"We are ecstatic Nestlé Purina has chosen Eden and Rockingham County as their new manufacturing home," said Mark Richardson, Chair, Rockingham County Board of Commissioners. "The news of their expansion into this property brings so much light and revitalization to our community. We are anxious to watch this site come back to life with new employees as well as tax base, but more importantly excited to see it occupied by such a well-known and respected company."
Key Facts for Nestlé Purina:
Total investment in this facility: an estimated $450 million
Total investment across the U.S. in the last 5 years: $1.5 billion
Total square footage of Eden facility: 1.3 million
Expected number of employees: more than 300 by 2024
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.