Diamond Foods to expand in Wisconsin

by Eric Schroeder
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SAN FRANCISCO — Diamond Foods, Inc. announced a $38 million planned expansion of its production facility in Beloit, Wis., to meet increased demand for its Kettle Brand potato chips. As part of the expansion, production capacity will be doubled and more than 100 new jobs will be created, Diamond Foods said.

Diamond Foods said the expansion will allow for broader distribution of Kettle products throughout larger markets in the East, South and Midwest.

“Diamond Foods is proud to be able to expand our Beloit operations by investing to create new jobs and better serve our customers and consumers,” said Michael J. Mendes, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Diamond has a deep history of investing in our brands, plants, and supply chain to meet growing demand for our products, which has been foundational to our success.”

Groundbreaking is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2011 and completion is targeted for the first quarter of 2012. The Beloit facility, which opened in 2007 and currently has more than 110 production and distribution employees, produces approximately half of the nation’s supply of the Kettle Brand potato chip product line and will produce a new style of potato chip in a reduced oil format.

The announcement comes less than two months after Diamond Foods said it will expand its production facility in Salem, Ore., to accommodate increased demand for its Kettle Brand potato chips. The Salem expansion is expected to result in a 25% increase in production capacity and a 12% increase in production workforce at the facility.

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