Pet food maker announces $200M expansion in Richmond
Connecticut-based Blue Buffalo Co. Ltd. will invest $200 million to expand operations in Richmond, the company announced Thursday. The pet food manufacturer plans to build a 169,000-square-foot addition to its Wayne County facility in an effort to boost processing operations and warehouse capacity. As part of the expansion, the company plans to add up to 60 jobs by the end of 2024.
Blue Buffalo marked the expansion Thursday with a groundbreaking ceremony that included Gov. Eric Holcomb and Richmond Mayor Dave Snow.
Specifically, Blue Buffalo plans to add an extruder line, three new packaging lines and an associated mix and transfer system. The company said the expansion will increase the facility’s footprint by 40%, boosting production dog and cat food for customers across the U.S. and Canada.
The expansion comes less than four years after Blue Buffalo opened the doors of the Richmond facility, which was also the result of a $200 million investment.
The company currently employs about 180 people in Richmond and some 1,500 nationwide.
“Blue Buffalo has established a strong professional relationship with local and state officials, and an impactful relationship with our community,” Mayor Snow said in a news release. “Their growth is a result of dedication to the quality of their product, and their positive business model which promotes a healthy and productive work environment.”
Blue Buffalo originally announced plans for its 400,000-square-foot facility in Richmond in 2016. The plant opened its doors in 2019, about a year after the company was acquired by Minnesota-based General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) in an $8 billion deal.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is offering Blue Buffalo up to $900,000 in conditional tax credits and Manufacturing Readiness Grants, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. Wayne County will consider additional incentives.
Blue Buffalo plans to begin hiring for the new jobs later this year. The expansion is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.
Sales of Blue Buffalo products were up 18% in fiscal 2022, but General Mills said capacity constraints prevented the company from meeting full demand. General Mills’ pet segment generated $2.3 billion in sales in fiscal 2022, with most of that revenue coming from Blue Buffalo.