Idaho lands $85 million fruit plant
NAMPA, Idaho — An $85 million fruit processing facility that will be built in Nampa will use apples from Idaho and other states in the region.
“We plan to source apples from both Idaho and the entire northwest region, including neighboring states such as Washington and Oregon,” John George, vice president of manufacturing for Materne North America, told the Capital Press in an email.
Materne, which makes GoGo squeeZ Applesauce On the Go, announced Feb. 6 that it will build its second U.S. processing facility in Nampa this year.
Idaho produces about 70 million pounds of commercial apples each year and the majority of Idaho’s apple orchards are located close to the Nampa area.
Chad Henggeler, field manager for Henggeler Packing Co. in Fruitland, Idaho’s second largest apple producer, said Materne officials visited with Idaho apple industry representatives last month.
“We look at that as very positive news,” he said. “We’re excited to hear they are locating a facility in Nampa. That’s exactly the kind of commerce we’re looking for.”
The company also sells an applesauce product with peaches.
“Access to quality fruits was certainly a part of our decision to plant roots here,” George said. “Using peaches from right here in Idaho is certainly something we are looking into.”
Idaho produces about 8,000 tons of peaches annually.
“That’s awesome,” said Mike Williamson, manager of Williamson Orchards, which grows peaches, apples and other fruit in nearby Caldwell.
GoGo squeeZ sells squeezable, re-sealable 100 percent fruit in pouches. According to Materne, the company has sold more than 2 billion pouches around the world.
The company was founded in France and opened its first U.S. facility in 2008 in Michigan.
According to an Idaho Department of Commerce news release, the company’s products are sold in more than 50,000 locations across the country, including in Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger and Whole Foods Markets.
The announcement created excitement among Idaho’s fruit industry.
“It’s really great news for the area and for the agricultural industry,” said Henggeler President Kelly Henggeler. “We’ll do everything we can to support them.”
George said the company chose Nampa because the area contains the “right mix of access to quality fruits, a skilled workforce, facility and property specifications and true partnership with the area community.”
“Clearly, Idaho is becoming a national leader in food processing and this expertise was made clear in the interaction we had with officials at every level in this decision-making process,” he added.
The new facility will be located at 906 E. Karcher Road, a site formerly owned by Micron Technology and vacant since 2007.
Trials runs on the facility’s first two production lines are expected to be held by the end of this year, according to the release.
Materne officials said that when the Nampa facility is running at full capacity, it is expected to produce 60 percent of the company’s U.S. products.