SAN FRANCISCO (GlobeNewswire)--Diamond Foods, Inc. today announced a $38 million planned expansion of its production facility in Beloit, Wisconsin to meet increased demand for its Kettle Brand potato chips. More than 100 new jobs will be created, and production capacity at the plant will be doubled. The expansion will allow broader distribution of Kettle products throughout larger markets in the East, South and Midwest. The decision to expand the Beloit facility was made after evaluating many factors including a package of financial incentives from the State of Wisconsin and the City of Beloit. The project represents an on-going successful private-public sector partnership between Diamond Foods and the State of Wisconsin and the City of Beloit.
"Diamond Foods is proud to be able to expand our Beloit operations by investing to create new jobs and better serve our customers and consumers," said Michael J. Mendes, Chairman, President and CEO. "Diamond has a deep history of investing in our brands, plants, and supply chain to meet growing demand for our products, which has been foundational to our success."
"I am very pleased at the news that Diamond Foods plans to expand its Kettle Beloit operations and will continue to hire employees and source its potatoes from the state of Wisconsin," said Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle. "Kettle has been a dedicated Wisconsin corporate citizen for many years and we are proud to have the company continue to invest in our state."
Ground breaking is anticipated to take place in the second quarter of 2011 and completion is targeted for the first quarter of 2012. The Beloit facility, which opened in 2007 and currently has over 110 production and distribution employees, produces approximately half of the nation's supply of the Kettle Brand potato chip product line and will produce a new style of potato chip in a reduced oil format.
This new capacity will enable the continued expansion of the Kettle brand. In US grocery stores, the brand has grown almost 13% over the last year ended October 2, 2010. This growth rate is 2.5 times the category growth rate. "We are excited about the growth of our Kettle brand and the strong reaction from our retail partners as we discuss unique distribution opportunities throughout their store," said Andrew Burke Executive Vice President and CMO of Diamond Foods. "In fact, over the past few months we have secured distribution of our single-serve product in the deli sections of a large mass merchant and national grocery retailer, which gives our brand national visibility driving the need for more capacity to serve the entire U.S.," said Burke.