Unilever will be revamping its Independence, Missouri facility and adding 70 jobs in the process. Built in 1962, the 350,000 squre-foot facility currently employs 180 people and produces Wish-Bone and Hellmann's products. The investment will allow for producing dry-mix soups, sauces and gravies under the Knorr and Lipton labels. The liquid dressing products will be manufactured elsewhere after the project is completed. The investment was praised by local and state and officials, including Governor Jay Nixon, who said he met last fall with Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North American operations.
The state is offering a $6.2 million incentive package if the company meets its job creation and investment goals. The package includes up to $5 million through the Enhanced Enterprise Zone program and up to $1.2 million through the Missouri Works Training program. As part of its plan, Unilever is closing its Bramalea, Ontario facility that had been producing the dry-mix product lines. The shift was made in part because 80 percent of the products made in Bramalea were shipped to the United States.
This is the second investment made by Unilever in a Kansas City area factory over the past year. Last August it announced a $152.5 million project for its margarine and spreads manufacturing plant in Gardner, increasing its size by 50 percent and employment by 100.