Gov. Whitmer Announces 185 Good-Paying Snack Manufacturing Jobs Coming to West Michigan

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce that SnackCraft, a Greece-based manufacturer of high-quality snack foods, is building its US headquarters in the city of Kentwood with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.

“This investment by SnackCraft will create long-term economic opportunity in West Michigan’s agribusiness sector and builds on our efforts to grow Michigan’s economy, create high-paying jobs and invest in every region of our great state,” he said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Right now, Michigan’s economy is growing. Unemployment is low, we’ve added 133,000 jobs in the last 12 months, and we continue to build on our manufacturing heritage. Our future is bright and investments like this from SnackCraft will help us move our state forward.”

The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $41.75 million and create up to 185 well-paying jobs with the support of a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. SnackCraft chose Michigan over a competing Chicago location for the project.

SnackCraft is owned by Unismac SA. Founded in Greece in 2008, the company specializes in R&D and manufacturing of high-quality, naturally baked snacks, free from allergens and artificial ingredients. SnackCraft products include crackers, chips and baked goods made from unique ingredients such as lentil flour, chickpea flour, vegetable flour, various seeds and other innovative natural ingredients. SnackCraft currently has no office in North America, but its global market presence is growing rapidly and can be found at major retailers in the United States and other markets around the world.

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SnackCraft plans to open a US headquarters and snacks manufacturing facility in the now vacant former Kerry Foods facility in Kentwood, where renovations will be carried out and machinery and equipment added. The facility needs to be upgraded to current food manufacturing standards and will be fully renovated to accommodate production lines and storage space. The company will also upgrade all utilities, toilets and lighting.

“Congratulations to the SnackCraft team on their growth and success. We are excited to welcome you to Michigan and appreciate this vote of confidence in the strength of our talented workforce and attractive business environment,” he said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are grateful to the governor, legislators and local officials for their continued support of the Michigan Business Development Program. We’re excited to work with local partners like The Right Place and the City of Kentwood to bring these high-paying jobs to West Michigan, and we look forward to welcoming more companies like SnackCraft to Michigan.”

The project will further boost Michigan’s agribusiness, corporate and professional service industries. The investment will also result in new relationships with suppliers in Michigan, which in turn will support the state’s affluent agricultural industry. In addition, the project will immediately bring good jobs to the area and could lead to future investment and growth in Michigan.

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“When we looked at expanding our manufacturing capacity and location for our business in the United States, the Grand Rapids region seemed like an obvious choice,” he said Dimitrios Stratakis, Founder and CEO of Unismack. “There is an abundance of talent and resources here in West Michigan to help us in the next phase of our journey and we are grateful to the team at MEDC for their support, insight and guidance along with their partners at The Right Place. ”

The new facility, led by Managing Director Joseph Riley, will be a co-packer/contract manufacturer of baked crackers, tortilla chips, single and twin screw extruded snack foods and pelleted snack foods such as veggie chips and straws. The facility will include an innovation center to help customers research and develop new products to meet changing tastes and consumer demands. SnackCraft will also offer its customers warehousing and, in some cases, third-party logistics.

The Right Place plans to support the project with $5,000 in kind. For information on careers at SnackCraft, contact [email protected]

“We are very pleased that we were able to help SnackCraft find the perfect environment to expand their operations here in the United States,” he said The Right Place Vice President of Business Attraction and Project Manager Brent Case. “With the wealth of talent available and the past successes of other food and beverage companies in the area, Kentwood has created a desirable location for global companies like SnackCraft to thrive.”

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SnackCraft’s commitment to Michigan builds on the state’s ongoing support for its resilient agribusiness, including support for the multi-phase expansion of Hudsonville Ice Cream at its Holland City facility. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $65.7 million and create 76 jobs, supported by a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In January, Welch Foods announced it was expanding its Lawton Village operations, a project expected to generate a total capital investment of $26.2 million and create 57 jobs, supported by $588,725 in Community Development Block Grants. Funds awarded to Van Buren District.

“Michigan is fast becoming known worldwide as the place for new and expanding food and agriculture businesses. We’re thrilled that Snack Craft has chosen to bring its global presence here and call Michigan home,” he said MDARD director Gary McDowell. “Through continued investment and incentives, Snack Craft will help create an estimated 185 high-paying jobs for Michiganders while creating new opportunities for our farmers. Snack Craft is a wonderful example of what can happen when we work together to grow Michigan’s diverse food and farming sector.”

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