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Nestlé USA said Wednesday that it will invest more than $100 million to expand its production facility in Jonesboro and hire at least 100 new employees over the next two years.
The food company said the project will add a line to produce Hot Pockets sandwiches. It said it will renovate and add 90,000 SF to its facility.
“Consumers are embracing eating at home like never before and rediscovering the frozen category, an evolution brought on by the pandemic that is showing signs of taking hold for the long term,” said Mike Mahon, the factory’s manager, said in a news release. “As we embrace the trend and plan for the future, we’re excited to be investing in our Jonesboro factory to support our Hot Pockets business.”
Nestlé USA opened its Jonesboro facility in 2002 in the Craighead Technology Park. It has about 750 full-time employees who produce frozen foods for the company’s Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine, DiGiorno, Tombstone and Sweet Earth brands.
The company said it plans to begin construction in January.
“Nestlé’s many successful years in Arkansas are a great testament to our business climate and the quality of our workforce, which has persuaded the company’s leaders that Jonesboro is the perfect location for this expansion,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in a news release. “Success breeds success, which means we are going to see more great things from the Hot Pockets project.”
According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the project qualified for the following incentives:
- The Advantage Arkansas program, which provides a state income tax credit of 1% of total payroll
- The Tax Back program, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment
- $700,000 from the governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund.
AEDC said the Office of Skills Development will also work with Nestlé to provide reimbursements for eligible training expenses.
First announced in 2001, the Nestlé frozen foods manufacturing plant’s initial $165 million investment was at the time considered the largest single start-up by a company in state history. Nestlé USA is owned by Nestlé S.A. of Vevey, Switzerland, the world’s largest food company.
“This is a big one,” then Gov. Mike Huckabee said. “This is a trophy for the wall … When you land a Nestlé, you’ve pulled the king mackerel into the boat.”
“Once again, Nestlé has shown how it continues to invest in the communities they call home,” Mark Young, president and CEO of the Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce, said. “This expansion is the latest example of Nestlé’s commitment to Jonesboro. The combination of Nestlé’s products and Jonesboro’s people is heading into its second generation together. We are as excited about our future as we are proud of our history.”
Nestlé USA says it has 48,000 workers at more than 300 U.S. locations in 36 states, including a Gerber Products Co. plant in Fort Smith. That site announced a $30 million expansion in July.