Last updated: July 24. 2014 1:43PM - 1783 Views
By - ccooper@newsdemocratleader.com

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Governor Steve Beshear joined company officials and community leaders in Logan County on Wednesday to break ground on Champion Petfoods’ first U.S. kitchen. which is to be located in Auburn.

A fun-filled evening was had by all who attended the festivities which came complete with food severed from local farmers, musical performances by the Grascals, and a chance to meet those who will be affecting Logan County for years to come.

The new kitchen in Auburn will create 147 new jobs. Because Champion Petfoods’ never outsources, the industry will be purchasing its ingredients from local farmers and suppliers, which will boost the local economy. The company plans to invest more than $85 million to build a world-class pet food kitchen in Logan.

After two years of searching, Champion Petfoods’ determined that Kentucky was the perfect location to advance its Biologically Appropriate and Fresh Regional Ingredient mandate. The new facility will be among the most advanced pet food kitchens in the world, custom designed and fitted for preparing and handling multiple fresh and local ingredients.

Peter Muhlenfeld, Vice President of Sales & Marketing began the groundbreaking ceremonies Wednesday telling a brief history of Champion Petfoods’, what the company is all about, and praising its new home in Logan County.

“Our mission is to make Biologically Appropriate foods from fresh regional ingredients that are never outsourced,” said Muhlenfeld. “We want to uphold the expectations pet lovers have around the world and we really want to make you (Logan County) proud of us.”

Frank Burdzy, President and CEO of Champion Petfoods’ said he was happy to just be part of the team and part of the family in Logan County.

“One of the things that’s most important are the people we work with and the people we will meet here,” said Burdzy, adding there are great opportunities and investments in this community and region and Champion Petfoods’ is looking forward to partnering with the state and local community. “The state of Kentucky reached out to us and made us feel welcome and we are appreciative.”

ACANA and ORIJEN are the two products made through Champion Petfoods’, both are made in award-winning kitchens. Champion Petfoods’ originates in Canada.

In 1985, Reinhard Muhlenfeld began making pet foods in a small feed mill in Barrhead, Alberta. With minimal equipment and a single packing unit, the little operation persevered to become one of the best-loved pet food makers on earth.

In the early years, making private label foods for grocery chains afforded the opportunity to gain experience that laid the foundation for its award-winning brands.

As knowledge and resources were acquired the little company prospered and, in 1996, constructed stand-alone kitchens focused entirely on pet food production, introducing ingredients and cooking processes that were not possible in the feed mill.

The next step was conceiving its ACANA and ORIJEN brands and Biologically Appropriate Fresh Regional Ingredients philosophy, which created a new category of dog and cat foods.

Trusted in 70 countries worldwide, Biologically Appropriate ACANA and ORIJEN are known for unmatched Fresh Regional Ingredients, and trusted for quality that’s never outsourced.

“Many would assume we’re here in Auburn because our Canadian kitchens can’t keep up with growth, or to get a stronger foothold in the world’s biggest pet food market,” said Muhlenfeld. “And they’d be right… sort of. “More important than making more food is advancing our BAFRINO mandate, and fulfilling the expectations that pet lovers around the world have of us.”

Muhlenfeld added that is why the Kentucky kitchens will be purpose built to incorporate more fresh meats and a greater diversity of meats than ever before.

“Ours might not be the biggest kitchens in America, but they will be the most purpose built,” said Muhlenfeld.

The facility near Auburn is expected to be operational in 2016.

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