Chobani expanding Twin Falls yogurt plant

Carol Ryan Dumas

Capital Press

Chobani is expanding its Greek yogurt plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, to add new packaging and filling areas. The 27,568 square-foot expansion carries a price tag of $3.544 million The city issued a permit Feb. 13, and construction is under way.

TWIN Falls, Idaho — Chobani is adding packaging and filling areas to its nearly 1 million-square-foot Greek yogurt plant in Twin Falls it opened in December 2012.

The 27,568 square feet of new construction is valued at $3.544 million, said Mitch Humble, Twin Falls’ community development director.

The project appears to be aimed at internal efficiency as opposed to increased production. Construction is already under way, Humble said.

Chobani has indicated the expansion won’t bring more employment, and it’s operating under its original water permit – not buying or discharging any additional water, he said.

But it will allow for less down-time in shutting down, cleaning and reloading production lines to package a different flavored product, he said.

Chobani issued a statement in response to Capital Press’ request for information.

"Ongoing expansion in our plants support(s) continued growth and the rising demand for Chobani, enabling us to provide better food for more people across the country," the company stated.

The expansion will be located on the east side of Chobani’s existing plant on the southeast corner of the city. An estimated time of completion is not required in an application, and Chobani did not submit that information, Humble said.

The city issued a building permit for the expansion on Feb. 13 after having received an application from Chobani on Feb. 5, he said.

The permitting process went pretty quickly and was probably a little quicker than other commercial permits. A lot of the review needed for a building permit was done a couple of years ago when the city reviewed Chobani’s original plan, he said.

In addition, expedited permitting was part of the incentive package to encourage Chobani to locate in Twin Falls, he said.

It also helps that Chobani has a good contractor who knows code requirements and designed the original plant and the expansion to meet code. And Idaho doesn’t have near the regulatory issues as places like California, he said.

Chobani built the original plant, an investment of $450 million, in just under a year and began production in November 2012, followed with a grand opening in December of that year.

The company reached optimal production capability this last December, increasing production from three lines producing approximately 100,000 cases of yogurt a week to 12 lines producing more than 1 million cases per week – with room for more expansion, according to the statement issued by Chobani.

A company official stated earlier the plant has the capacity to process 10 million pounds of milk a day.



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