ConAgra Foods Inc., which acquired Elan Nutrition in Kentwood last month, will invest approximately $73 million there and create more than 200 new jobs in Michigan over the next five years, according to The Right Place Inc.
The upgrade of the Elan facility at 4490 44th St., which produces snack and nutrition bars, includes the purchase of new equipment and machinery, and will allow ConAgra Foods to expand its manufacturing capacity and R&D capabilities.
Elan Nutrition complements ConAgra Foods’ production in the wholesale bar market. The Right Place in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the city of Kentwood, arranged an incentive package valued at approximately $9 million to support ConAgra Food’s added investment in Kentwood. ConAgra Foods currently employs more than 500 throughout Michigan, and this latest investment will add many new jobs in Kentwood over the next year, according to The Right Place.
Over the next five years, ConAgra Foods plans to make a significant investment in the training and education of its Kentwood workforce, adding a Center of Excellence Research and Development group.
ConAgra Foods officials cited West Michigan’s growing food processing industry as a factor in convincing the company to invest in the area.
“Food processing continues to be one of our strongest industry clusters,” noted Right Place President Birgit Klohs. “Adding a global leader like ConAgra Foods to that segment brings not only jobs, but also new innovation, development and growth opportunities for West Michigan.”
ConAgra Foods is a $12.5 billion company founded in 1919, with headquarters in Omaha. Its consumer food product brands include Chef Boyardee, Egg Beaters, Healthy Choice, Hebrew National, Hunts, Manwich, PAM, Peter Pan, Van Camps, Banquet, Orville Redenbacher, Slim Jim, La Choy, Parkay, Wesson and others. It also has a commercial foods division that provides foods and ingredients to food service, food manufacturing, and industrial customers.