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Freshpet to Expand Texas Facility

Pet food processor plans to complete first round of expansions by 2022.

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Freshpet, Inc., maker of fresh, refrigerated pet food, will significantly scale production capacity at its Ennis, Texas, facility to meet increased consumer demand. The first phase of the project is expected to provide 400,000 sq ft of manufacturing space and open in fall of 2022, with a second 200,000-sq-ft expansion phase to follow. When at full capacity, the facility will allow Freshpet to produce enough pet food to exceed $1 billion in total revenue by 2025 and employ more than 400 people in the area, nearly doubling Freshpet’s workforce.

Through the CRB ONEsolution, Freshpet will have a single source of responsibility, communication, and coordination across the project’s lifecycle — from architectural, engineering development, and design through construction and commissioning. The project will incorporate layout efficiencies, hygienic segregations, equipment, conveyance, cleaning, and inspection designs that are indistinguishable from human food processing facilities, according to CRB.

CRB also provided design and engineering services for Freshpet’s 140,000-sq-ft refrigerated pet food expansion at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. CRB provided design of power, utility, ammonia refrigeration, and HVAC systems, along with plant functions.

COVID-19 measures at existing facilities

Freshpet is also working to protect its team members, so that they can address the surge in demand that exceeded production capacity during the first quarter and rebuild trade inventories in the second quarter when consumers begin to draw down their pantry stock. These efforts include taking the temperature of every team member before they enter the kitchens, installing increased space for social distancing, instituting staggered shifts, enhancing daily sanitation efforts, weekly deep cleaning of all common areas, and limiting visitor access and administering a health check on all of them. 

Additionally, the company suspended its absenteeism policy — and brought in incremental staffing to meet demand — so that any team member who does not feel well does not feel compelled to come to work. As a result, Freshpet kitchens have continued to produce with limited interruptions and at high volumes. The company is providing all kitchens’ team members a $500 post-tax bonus and $50 gift cards bi-weekly to support locally owned restaurants. 

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