KIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL — Osem Group has opened a Bamba factory at its industrial campus in Kiryat Gat, Israel. The company invested more than $55 million (NIS $200 million) into the 172,000-square-foot facility that will employ about 150 workers.
Established in 1942 and acquired by Nestle in 2016, Osem manufactures a variety of bakery and snack products at its nine plants in Israel. Bamba is a puffed snack made from peanuts and corn and was first introduced in 1964. Since then, it has become a top-selling snack in Israel.
With its new factory, Osem will double its production output to about one million bags of Bamba per day and eventually create 1.5 million bags per day at the operation. The company said that increasing capacity will allow it to meet the growing demand for Bamba in Israel and market the product to retailers in the United States and other markets.
“This is the most innovative food factory in Israel, with one of the most advanced quality control systems in the world and a closed and automated production system,” said Avi Ben-Assayag, chief executive officer, Osem Group. The plant was designed according to the leading environmental protection, logistics, development and automation standards, he explained.
Careful planning also went into minimizing the facility’s environmental footprint, said Meir Imber, vice-president of operations, Osem Group.
“Its environmental impact will be less than that of a residential building: A factory with no sewage, where all energy consumption is based on natural gas and zero waste is sent to landfills,” he said.
In addition, all Bamba packaging will come from recyclable materials by 2025.
Mr. Ben-Assayag applauded Nestle for its help in establishing the plant.
“The way in which Nestle has guided the process of planning and building the factory, and their significant investment in it, shows the extent of the huge commitment of Osem and Nestle, and the immense trust Nestle has placed in Osem as a company that excels at innovation,” he said. “This path ensures the continued development of Israeli manufacturing and Osem’s position as one of Nestle’s leading worldwide organizations.”
While Osem has sold its products within the kosher segment in the United States for more than 30 years, the company has recently started selling Bamba at retail chains as a healthier-for-you item. It currently sells Bamba at Walmart, and in the coming months said it will begin supplying the snack to a number of other retail chains.