From Bavaria to Batavia: New yogurt plant will bring jobs, product to area
Posted at: 08/02/2012 5:42 PM
| Updated at: 08/02/2012 6:53 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
99One of the biggest names in corporate America joined Governor Cuomo and a German company on Thursday in celebrating a new yogurt plant in Batavia that's bringing jobs to our area.
PepsiCo, headquartered in New York, and Muller, a 100-year-old German yogurt tradition, are partners in the new plant.
The 350,000 square foot plant is under construction, and will be one of the largest yogurt plants in the nation with 180 new jobs.
The Governor and CEO's signed a ceremonial steel beam Thursday. PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi called it an exciting enterprise.
"For in two years to launch a yogurt product, a brand new business for Pepsico, and to get this plant in this state of readiness I think is nothing short of amazing," Nooyi says.
Muller CEO Heiner Kamps made the trip from Germany and is the great-grandson of the company's founder.
"I have seen 50 sites with a my finger on the spreadsheet and a map. And I have seen six sites personally. And what we have seen here was really outstanding," says Kamps.
The plant is state-of-the-art and made possible with state money and federal infrastructure grants for the new agri-business park.
The Governor said he campaigned on the promise to change the state's reputation as being bad for business. "We want business in New York. Business is the engine that drives the train, providing the jobs, providing the opportunity, providing the career ladder, providing the revenues to local governments. It's all about making the private sector run and run well, and government partnering with the private sector."
This facility - and another new plant in Batavia from yogurt maker Alpina - are a boon to New York dairy farmers.
Batavia is in the heart of one of the most heavily concentrated milk-producing regions in the entire Northeast.
The Muller CEO told a story of reading a consumer's comments after trying Muller yogurt recently. "She tried the product 2 weeks ago and she wrote 'it is insanely delicious.' I think it was the right comment."
Muller Quaker could be a hit. They started selling three varieties of yogurt a month ago in supermarkets in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
Wegmans says they are looking into having these products in their stores.
PepsiCo says it's still too early to talk about hiring for Batavia.
What makes Muller yogurt so special? It's supposed to be richer and creamier than ordinary yogurt. Muller says that Americans prefer a yogurt that's a little sweeter than European tastes.