USA – American snack food and granola manufacturer, McKee Foods has unveiled a US$500 million investment plan to expand its production capacities over the next 15 years.

Over the period, McKee Foods plans to invest more than US$500 million in capital projects, including expansion of the Apison Plant to include new production lines, and additional investment in its other Collegedale facilities.

McKee Foods said that it will initially invest approximately US$225 million in the next 5 years. Of this investment, US$110 million will be used to more than double the current size of the Apison Plant and add the first new production line.

This will be the fourth major expansion of this facility. According to a statement released by the company, work will be completed in phases with the first phase commencing in the summer of 2020.

The Collegedale, Tennessee-headquartered company has also committed create 125 new jobs in the first seven years of the project and add 480 new jobs over the course of the entire project. McKee Foods employs about 3,000 people in its Tennessee operations today.

“McKee Foods is very pleased that we are able to bring more jobs and more bakery capacity to our Hamilton County operations,” said Mike McKee, McKee Foods Corporation President & CEO.

“Our family business is blessed to have such deep roots in Southeast Tennessee — a region where thoughtful infrastructure investment is being made while maintaining a keen eye on livability and workability for our employees and surrounding communities.”

“As always, we appreciate partnering with the City of Collegedale, Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority and EPB as we expand our Collegedale Operations.”

The today’s McKee Foods, which has annual annual sales of about US$1.4 billion was founded by O.D. McKee in the 1930s as a small retail business, who started selling 5-cent snack cakes from the back of his car.

Soon after, he and his wife, Ruth, bought a small bakery on Main Street in Chattanooga, Tennessee, using the family car as collateral.

The company later broke ground on the Apison Plant in April 1996, and started production in May 1997 followed by a major expansion in 2006 – which saw the firm triple in size.

In 2012, McKee Foods further invested in the site, expanding its production capacity by 30% and established new offices and a new break room area.

Today, the company employs more than 6,000 people in operates sites in Tennessee Arkansas, Virginia Arizona. It portfolio includes Little Debbie baked goods, Drake’s cakes, Sunbelt Bakery  snacks and cereals and Fieldstone Bakery food products and has rvenues of over US$1.4 billion.