NEW BEDFORD, MASS. — Northern Pelagic Group, LLC (NORPEL) is opening a new pet food ingredient manufacturing facility this year, focused on producing fresh and frozen protein for use in dog and cat foods.

The new facility in northeastern Pennsylvania will be NORPEL’s first site located outside of New Bedford. It is expected to create at least 80 new full-time jobs in the area.

“Given NORPEL's growth and relationship with many pet food producers and our need for further capacity, 2021 was the right time for NORPEL to expand outside Massachusetts and set up a new food facility for the pet industry,” said Brady Schofield, chief executive officer and co-founder of NORPEL. “Processing pet food is capital intensive but given all of the learning curves we have been through, the relationships we have developed, and products we have helped launch, it was a necessary step for the business.”

The company has been working toward the opening of this facility for more than a year. In January, it closed on a 70,000-square-foot facility in Humboldt Industrial Park and will now begin transitioning the plant to a temperature-controlled, food-grade processing site. Three processing lines will operate inside the facility, expanding NORPEL’s capacity and providing room to grow with new customers and products.

NORPEL also shared plans to construct a 25,000-square-foot cold storage facility in the area.

“Pets need proteins and consumers want proteins that make them feel okay about what their pet eats both for their health and the planet,” said Michael Tierney, vice president of business development. “We have partnered with a wide range of suppliers and have created products that will help pet food manufacturers continue to produce food that will keep pets and their owners coming back for more.”

The new facility will bring NORPEL closer to its raw material suppliers and customer base. The company expects to see continued growth as a premium and sustainable pet food protein business, as the industry attracts investor money, companies go public and consumer trends continue toward high-quality, premium products.

“Sustainability is one of the primary reasons we love being in the pet space,” Schofield said. “We work with farms, food processors and businesses large and small to ensure that nothing goes to waste and that full utilization of the fish or animal is achieved”.

Founded in 2002, NORPEL began as a vertically integrated seafood company that has since transitioned into a multi-protein manufacturing business for the seafood and pet food industries.

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