ST. LOUIS — Nestlé Purina PetCare announced Sept. 30 it will invest $450 million in a brand-new pet food manufacturing facility in Eden, N.C. The company expects the facility to be 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 of Nestlé Purina US. "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."
The location is a former brewery sitting on more than 1,300 acres, which Purina will refurbish to accommodate the latest technical processing innovations for pet food manufacturing. The finished plant will span 1.3 million square feet and employ more than 300 people by 2024. According to Purina, many of the jobs created at the new facility will be for professional and technical staff, production operation and engineers.
"North Carolina's manufacturing workforce is strong, and this announcement is an important new phase in Nestlé Purina's growth," said North Carolina Governor Roy 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."
This marks Purina’s 22nd pet food or treat manufacturing facility in the United States. In November 2019, it opened its 21st facility in Hartwell, Ga., where it produces wet dog and cat food primarily for the southeastern market.
Purina will produce its leading dry dog and cat food brands in Eden, including Purina Pro Plan and Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, and Purine ONE.
"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," added Nolan Terry, vice president of manufacturing at 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."
Purina will incorporate its environmental initiatives into the Eden facility, with operations designed to promote sustainability that include zero waste-to-landfill and recovering and reusing heat and water. Further, the facility will use 100% renewable electricity “in the shortest practical timeframe,” the company reported. Purina’s goal is zero environmental impact in company operations by 2030.
"We are ecstatic Nestlé Purina has chosen Eden and Rockingham County as their new manufacturing home," said Mark Richardson, chair on the 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."
Read more about pet food processing on our Operations page.