LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to announce that SnackCraft, a Greece-based manufacturer of high-quality snack foods, is establishing its U.S. headquarters in the city of Kentwood with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“This investment by SnackCraft will create long-term economic opportunity in West Michigan’s agribusiness sector and build on our efforts to grow Michigan’s economy, create good-paying jobs, and invest in every region of our great state,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Right now, Michigan’s economy is growing. Unemployment is low, we have added 133,000 jobs in the last 12 months, and we continue to build on our manufacturing heritage. Our future is bright, and investments like this one by SnackCraft will help us continue moving our state forward.”
The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $41.75 million and create up to 185 well-paying jobs with the support of a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. SnackCraft chose Michigan for the project over a competing site in Chicago.
SnackCraft is owned by Unismack S.A. First established in Greece in 2008, the company specializes in R&D and the manufacture of high-quality, natural baked snacks which are free from allergens and artificial ingredients. SnackCraft’s products include crackers, crisps and baked goods made of unique ingredients like lentil flour, chickpea flour, vegetable flours, various seeds and other innovative natural ingredients. SnackCraft currently does not have a North American facility, but its global market presence is growing rapidly and can be found at major retailers throughout the United States, as well as in other markets around the world.
SnackCraft plans to open a U.S. headquarters and snack manufacturing facility at the now-vacant former Kerry Foods facility in Kentwood, where it will make renovations and add machinery and equipment. The facility will need to be upgraded to current food manufacturing standards, and will be renovated throughout to include space for manufacturing lines and warehousing. The company will also upgrade all utilities, restrooms and lighting.
“Congratulations to the team at SnackCraft on your growth and success. We are excited to welcome you to Michigan, and appreciate this vote of confidence in the strength of our talented workforce and attractive business climate,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board. “We are grateful to the Governor, legislators and local officials for their continued support of the Michigan Business Development Program. We’re pleased to work with local partners like The Right Place and the city of Kentwood to bring these high-wage jobs to West Michigan, and we look forward to welcoming more companies like SnackCraft to Michigan.”
The project will further boost Michigan’s agribusiness and corporate and professional services industries. The investment will also result in new relationships with Michigan suppliers, in turn supporting the state’s rich agribusiness industry. In addition, the project will bring immediate good jobs to the area and could lead to future investment and growth in Michigan.
“As we looked into expanding our manufacturing capacity and location for our company in the US, the Grand Rapids region seemed like an obvious choice,” said Dimitrios Stratakis, Unismack founder & CEO. “There is an abundance of talent and resources here in West Michigan to help us in the next phase of our journey and we’re thankful to the team at the MEDC for their support, insights and guidance along with their partners at The Right Place.”
The new facility, led by CEO Joseph Riley, will be a co-packer/contract manufacturer of baked crackers, tortilla chips, single and twin-screw extruded snacks, and pellet snacks such as veggie chips and straws. The facility will include an innovation center to assist customers with research and development of new products to meet changing consumer tastes and demand. SnackCraft will also provide warehousing and some third-party logistics for its customers.
The Right Place plans to support the project with in-kind services valued at $5,000. For information on careers with SnackCraft, contact email@example.com.
“We’re very happy we were able to assist SnackCraft in finding the perfect environment to grow their operations here in the United States,” said The Right Place Vice President of Business Attraction and project lead Brent Case. “With the amount of talent available and the previous successes of other food and beverage companies in the area, Kentwood has created a desirable location for global companies like SnackCraft to thrive.”
SnackCraft’s commitment to Michigan builds on the state’s ongoing support of its robust agribusiness industry, including support for Hudsonville Ice Cream’s multi-phase expansion at its facility in the city of Holland. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $65.7 million and create 76 jobs, supported by a $1 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. In January, Welch Foods announced it was expanding at its operations in the village of Lawton, a project that is expected to generate a total capital investment of $26.2 million and create 57 jobs, supported by $588,725 in Community Development Block Grant funds awarded to Van Buren County.
“Michigan is quickly becoming known worldwide as the place to be for new and expanding food and agricultural businesses. We’re thrilled Snack Craft has chosen to bring its global presence here and call Michigan home,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Thanks to continued investment and incentives, Snack Craft will help create an estimated 185 high-wage jobs for Michiganders while creating new opportunities for our famers. Snack Craft is a wonderful example what can happen when we work together to grow Michigan’s diverse food and agriculture sector.”