Conagra to invest US$60m in expanding snack production capacity at Troy plant

USA – American consumer packaged goods holding company is planning to spend US$60 million in expanding its snack production capacity at its site in Troy, Michigan. 

The expansion works will see Conagra add 15,000-square-foot of building space and about 100 new employees at its operations on Dye Mill Road on Troy’s east side 

 Jeff Erwin, plant manager noted that the Chicago-based company already employs 950 people at the Troy operation 

The project is expected to start in August and continue through February 2023 while equipment installation and startup of operations is targeted for January through May 2023. 

Conagra revealed that the 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 adding that it’s protein-based and in line with people’s buying habits.  

“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. 

Meanwhile, Conagra has revealed that it is incurring higher costs as supply chain issues snarl production and the omicron variant constrains the availability of labor. 

 CEO Sean Connolly told analysts that the company is paying more in overtime amid a rise in “omicron absenteeism.”  

 “I think, it’s entirely reasonable for all of us to project that the next month or so could remain strained within the supply chain as omicron runs its course.” 

Labor constraints in addition to above-average inventory write-offs led the Slim Jim maker to absorb $21 million in supply chain costs in Q2, a filing from the Securities and Exchange Commission shows. 

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