Published in Food/Agribusiness

Welch’s to invest $26.2M in new bottling line at Van Buren County facility

BY Wednesday, January 12, 2022 05:01pm

LAWTON — Global food manufacturer Welch Foods Inc. plans to invest $26.2 million and add up to 57 jobs for a new bottling line planned at its facility in Van Buren County, state officials announced today.

The project is being supported by $588,725 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which will require at least 30 of the 57 new jobs to be held by low- or moderate-income individuals. The federal funds will help with the purchase of new machinery and equipment for the expansion at the company’s facility in Lawton.

“Welch’s is pleased that our close partnership with UFCW Local 825 has enabled us to commit to this investment, which will support our growth, continue to bring living-wage jobs to the community, and help us make Welch’s an employer of choice in Van Buren County,” Welch Foods Chief Supply Chain Officer Merrell Bennett said in a statement. “The state of Michigan is a great place to grow, and we are grateful for the efforts of state and local officials that are helping us make this project a reality.”

Welch Foods — which is cooperatively owned by farming families and produces a variety of grape juices, snacks and fruit-based spreads — has operated in Michigan since 1919. 

The company is experiencing increased demand in single-serve beverages and chose Michigan over other competing states, according to state officials.

“Michigan’s business climate and highly skilled workforce provide an environment where businesses like Welch’s can grow and thrive, creating good-paying jobs for Michiganders,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “We’re pleased that this iconic brand has chosen to expand in Michigan, helping to continue to grow our state’s vital agribusiness industry. With the help of companies like Welch Foods, we can build back our state’s economy stronger than ever.”   

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