Friday, December 11, 2009

Food Processing-Technology

Sabra Dipping Company Production Facility, USA

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The Sabra Dipping Company of Astoria, New York, is a producer of savoury vegetarian dips, appetisers and spreads in the US. The company was started in 1986 as Sabra – Blue & White Foods and was later purchased by Yehuda Pearl, which increased interest in the company’s Mediterranean-style product range.

In 2005 Strauss Salads of Israel purchased a majority stake in the company and in 2008 PepsiCo’s Frito Lay and Strauss formed the 50/50 joint venture Sabra Dipping. Sabra intends to open a 110,000 ft² production facility north of Colonial Heights near Richmond, Virginia. The facility will be the company’s second plant and will increase its production of dips for the US and Canadian markets.

The company

In 2007, Sabra had sales of $65m, with sales of hummus totalling about $192m. According to executive vice-president Meiky Tollman, the company grew by over 50% in the period between August 2008 and August 2009. "We have a 40% market share in the US hummus market and with the dips and spreads market predicted on growing Sabra has decided to establish a state-of-the-art plant which will utilise the most advanced production technologies available today. This will allow Sabra Dipping Company to keep the market growing and provide a measured response to increased demand ... at the same time we are investing in green technology and methodology to the tune of $2.2m," Tollman said.


The new plant is being constructed on a 49-acre site in the Ruffin Mill industrial park at the Walthall interchange east of Interstate 95 between Chester and Colonial Heights. The plant will open in mid-2010 and is expected to create 260 jobs. The negotiations to bring the plant to the area took around six months and state and county incentives played a large part in the process.

Bodies involved include Chesterfield County economic development department, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Gateway Program and the Greater Richmond Partnership. Chesterfield County has given a $250,000 grant for site development, the state of Virginia and the county are to provide $350,000 in training grants.

Sabra will also receive a waiver for building inspection, planning and zoning fees, as well as a five-year rebate on a machinery and tools tax. The estimated cost of the waivers and rebate is around $545,000 and will be borne by Chesterfield County.


Construction and outfitting of the plant required an investment of around $68m. In addition, Sabra has committed to opening the plant under silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) conditions. LEED is a green building rating system introduced by the US Green Building Council. The silver category means that 100% of the wood used in the building will be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, 20% of the materials will be made from recycled resources, 20% will be sourced and manufactured regionally (less than 500 miles from project site) and 75% of the construction waste produced will be diverted from landfills and recycled. In addition, 35% of energy used at the plant will be renewable and water will be collected from roof drainage into a cistern for use in toilet flushing and for other non-potable requirements.

The building and site utilities have been designed and engineered by the Dennis Engineering Group. The plumbing, waste water infrastructure, HVAC and natural gas systems are being installed by Warwick Plumbing and Heating. Other contractors include Industrial Turnaround for power and lighting, telecom work and electrical work and Republic Refrigeration.

"The facility will be the company’s second production plant and will increase its production of dips for the US and Canadian markets."

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