Pet food producer Purina has completed a $156-million ((€158 million) expansion project at the company's factory in Clinton, Iowa.
The project has seen the addition of a technical training centre to the site and boosted capacity and production capabilities for Purina's pet care brands.
The expansion has created 96 new positions at the factory, which now employs approximately 570 people.
The factory expansion includes new cooking and packaging lines to make a variety of pet food brands, including Purina ONE, Purina Pro Plan, and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets.
This expansion results from growing demand from pet owners for its science-based dog and cat foods.
Purina also purchased a building adjacent to the factory that has been retrofitted for the packaging and storage of two unique Purina brands.
The new building will house Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements, including Calming Care and FortiFlora.
This contains beneficial strains of bacteria that promote calm behaviour and support digestive health.
These products represent a collaboration between Purina nutritionists, researchers, and veterinarians.
Personalised Dog Food Brand
The building will also be home to Just Right, the group's first personalised dog food brand.
Through a subscription-based e-commerce model, Just Right is created using information provided by dog owners, balanced by Purina's nutritional experts, and hand scooped and measured by the group with personalised feeding instructions for each dog.
All blends are prepared and packaged in Clinton.
"The pet care industry is dynamic and thriving, and Purina's role as the category leader is one that we take seriously," said Andrea Faccio, chief growth officer at Purina.
"The ongoing investment in our business, including this expansion in Clinton, sets us up for continued growth in the future and helps us meet increasing demand from pet owners who have placed their trust in Purina to deliver nutritious and high-quality dog and cat foods."
Technical Training Centre
In addition to investing in the growth of Purina's brands, the Nestlé-owned pet food group's new factory aims to improve the experience of its employees.
The new 3,800 square foot (353 square metre) technical training centre in Clinton supports the brand's investment in digital tools and technology to enhance collaboration and innovation in manufacturing.
The training centre will be the hub for employee onboarding and includes both structured and self-driven training with digital tools and replicas of production equipment for employees to practice on.
"Purina is proud to invest in our brands, our employees, and the community here in Clinton," said Justin Wilkinson, factory manager, Clinton.
"The Clinton factory plays a unique role at Purina with the production of over 190 formulas, many of which are exclusively made in Clinton. We value our team here and their future, and we are grateful that the Clinton community has supported our growth here for more than 50 years."
Purina employs approximately 1,370 people across Iowa.