Kraft plans equipment upgrades at Kendallville plant

May 31st, 2013

News Coverage:

Kraft plans equipment upgrades at Kendallville plant

Posted: Friday, May 31, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 6:23 am, Fri May 31, 2013.

By Dennis Nartker

KENDALLVILLE — Thursday the Kendallville Economic Development Advisory Committee recommended 10 years of declining tax abatement for Kraft Foods Group Inc. on $5.45 million in new equipment.

City Council will consider the recommendation at its Tuesday night meeting.

Kraft Foods is investing in new equipment at its Kendallville plant at 151 W. Ohio St. to upgrade the marshmallow packaging line, according to Stuart Blackburn, the Kendallville plant’s controller. The new line will allow flexibility for quick changeover times, improve outputs and increase raw and pack material yields, Blackburn stated in the tax abatement application.

“We have lots of new marshmallow products coming like snackpacks, and this will allow us a quicker turnover,” he told the committee. The local plant has 390 employees and makes marshmallows, marshmallow creme and caramel products. The plant is one of Kraft Food Group’s most competitive operations and the only facility producing those products in this region for Kraft Foods Group, according to Blackburn.

The company also plans to upgrade the air control system in the marshmallow production area that will improve air flow and make conditions more comfortable for employees.

No new jobs will be created as a result of the abatement, but Blackburn expects the local plant’s employment to remain steady with the new investment.

Mayor Suzanne Handshoe praised the company for its long-term commitment to the Kendallville community.

According to its tax application, Kraft and its employees are very involved in the community. The company supports United Way of Noble County, the Cole Center Family YMCA, Light the Night, Boomerang Backpack, the Mid-America Windmill Museum, Festival of Trees, the Chamber of Commerce Feed the Need and Coat Drive and Junior Achievement.