BETHLEHEM, PA. — The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) and Freshpet, Inc. on May 4 shared details of the fresh pet food company’s plans to construct a new manufacturing kitchen in Hanover Township, Northampton County. The project is expected to create roughly 100 new jobs in the area.
“Manufacturing is the second-largest sector in the Lehigh Valley economy, and food and beverage production was identified in our strategic plan as one of the high-value target sectors for the regional economy,” said Don Cunningham, president and chief executive officer of LVEDC. “We’re proud to have a growing national company like Freshpet making its innovative pet food products right here in the Lehigh Valley.”
The new state-of-the-art Innovation Kitchen is expected to be operational in the second half of 2023. The facility will span 99,000 square feet and house new pet food manufacturing lines to drive product innovation and expand capacity for Freshpet.
“The Lehigh Valley has been a wonderful community and partner to Freshpet,” said Billy Cyr, CEO of Freshpet. “We moved to our current Kitchens facility here in 2013, expanded it twice, and we are excited to continue that legacy by constructing our new Innovation Kitchen in the Valley.”
The Innovation Kitchen will be located near the company’s existing Freshpet Kitchens campus in Hanover Township. The company currently employs approximately 600 people in the Lehigh Valley area. According to LVEDC, Freshpet has continually invested in its expansion in Hanover Township since 2015. The company broke ground on a facility expansion in 2015, opened a R&D center in 2016, committed to another expansion in 2018, and built an additional Kitchen in the area in 2020.
“Freshpet’s commitment to constant innovation and providing our pets the highest quality fresh, nutritious, real food is unwavering,” Cyr added. “This new Innovation Kitchen is yet another step in our evolution and will focus solely on our new manufacturing technologies and product innovations to help propel our business forward and build upon the industry leadership position that we hold today.”
The project is one of many capacity expansions currently in Freshpet’s operational pipeline. The company shared in its first quarter earnings call plans to add additional packaging lines to its Kitchens South plant, and the first phase of construction is currently underway for its new facility in Ennis, Texas.
Freshpet is partnering with J.G. Petrucci Company, a design/build firm based in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. J.G. Petrucci’s subsidiary, Iron Hill Construction Management, will lead construction of the exterior and interior of the new Innovation Kitchen.
“This is an exciting project for our company as we accommodate an existing tenant’s growth in the Lehigh Valley and build a space that will lead to such new, innovative products for Freshpet,” said Joe Petrucci, project executive at J.G. Petrucci Company. “Iron Hill is moving full steam ahead and coordinating closely with Freshpet team. We can’t wait to get this project started.”
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