Snack Cake Maker McKee Foods Announces $500M Production Expansion

McKee makes Little Debbie, Drake's and Sunbelt Bakery-branded snack cakes, among others.


COLLEGEDALE, TN — McKee Foods officials announced last week that the company is planning a major investment in its Collegedale, TN operations, including a large expansion to its Apison Plant there.

130McKee FoodsOver a 15-year period, McKee Foods — which makes Little Debbie snack cakes, Drake's cakes, Sunbelt Bakery snacks and other snack food brands — has agreed to invest more than $500 million in capital projects, including expansion of the Apison Plant to include new production lines and additional investment in its other Collegedale facilities. The company has also committed to 125 new jobs created in the first seven years of the project. Over the course of the entire project, the company expects to create 480 new jobs. McKee Foods employs about 3,000 people in its Tennessee operations today. 

The initial 5-year outlay is approximately $225 million. Of this amount, $110 million is set to more than double the current size of the Apison Plant and add the first new Mckee 1556919958production line. This will be the fourth major expansion of this facility. Work will be completed in phases with the first phase commencing in the summer of 2020. 

“McKee Foods is very pleased that we are able to bring more jobs and more bakery capacity to our Hamilton County operations,” said Mike McKee, McKee Foods Corporation president & CEO. “Our family business is blessed to have such deep roots in Southeast Tennessee — a region where thoughtful infrastructure investment is being made while maintaining a keen eye on livability and workability for our employees and surrounding communities. As always, we appreciate partnering with the City of Collegedale, Hamilton County and the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority and EPB as we expand our Collegedale Operations.” 

McKee Foods broke ground on the Apison Plant in April 1996, and production began in May 1997. The plant nearly tripled in size with an expansion completed in December 2006. A third expansion finished in November 2012 and included new offices and a new break room area.

McKee Foods had 2019 sales of approximately $1.4 billion and employs more than 6,000 people.

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