TROY – ConAgra Brands plans a fourth expansion of its operation on Dye Mill Road on Troy’s east side with a 15,000-square-foot building addition, around 100 new employees and a $60 million investment.
The Chicago-based company, which came to Troy in 1997 using the facilities initially for its pizza operation, already employs 950 people at the Troy operation, said Jeff Erwin, plant manager.
The project timeline now has construction starting in August and continuing through February 2023. Equipment installation and startup of operations is targeted for January through May 2023. The schedule depends, as always, on availability of materials, equipment and labor.
This expansion is for the company’s snacks business, specifically the Slim Jim products line.
“There is a heavy, heavy demand for meat snacks, and we are just trying to increase the ability to supply it to our consumers,” Erwin said.
The Slim Jim operation is a significant part of Troy plant’s business and growing, he said.
“It is protein based and what I have seen since the pandemic started is people’s buying habits have changed,” he said. “People are more comfortable with shelf-stable products. They want it on the shelf, just in case.”
More than 1 billion Slim Jims are produced by Conagra a year, with about 98.5 percent of all Slim Jims in the U.S. coming from the local facility.
The city and the Troy Development Council are thrilled by the continued investment in the community by Conagra, said Joseph A. Graves, president of the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce and CEO of the Troy Development Council.
“Conagra has a global presence, yet they continue to invest in our community and, most importantly, our people,” Graves said.
The city encouraged the expansion by providing a jobs incentive.
Troy City Council last month approved a request by Conagra to participate in the city Employee Creation Incentive Program as part of the expansion project.
The company requested and council approved a six-year payroll withholding rebate with a maximum annual incentive of $50,000. The estimated rebate for the expansion now in the works was listed at $18,300 annually.
That incentive along with others from JobsOhio are among key factors for the expansion in the Troy operation, along with the plant performance, Erwin said. Details of the JobsOhio incentives haven’t been released.
“We’ve invested a lot of money in this place. It is because the plant delivers on their commitments. There is a lot of credibility and confidence within Conagra to invest here because of the employees, the team, delivering on the investments,” said Erwin who has been with the Troy operation eight years.
During that time, the company has invested more than $250 million in the Troy operation. A large part of costs is the equipment, particularly the food grade stainless steel. The upcoming expansion will include use of some robotic technology.
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By the numbers
$60 million: Investment in ConAgra Brands expansion in Troy
15,000: Square footage of building addition
100: Approximate number of new employees
950: Workers currently at the Troy operation