The local food-processing industry just got a major shot in the arm.
A new flour mill is set to be built by Rogers Foods in Chilliwack that will boost its capacity by a whopping 80 per cent.
“The decision to expand was made because sales have overfilled capacity of the plant,” said Vic Bell, president of Rogers Foods Ltd., a subsidiary of Nisshin Flour Milling Inc.
Once the new mill is built on Simpson Road, the total combined capacity, including the Armstrong plant, will see 770 metric tonnes per day of wheat milled — an increase of about 50 per cent.
The Chilliwack mill underwent an expansion of 22 per cent in 2010, but strong sales prompted the decision for second milling unit.
Bell points to factors like population growth in the Pacific Northwest region of about one per cent, coupled with a resurgence in the market for grain-based products.
With a solid population base, a taste for Japanese food culture, and a trending market toward specialty flours, the West Coast positioning is ideal.
“We have been able to meet that demand with our growing line of specialty flours and mixes,” Bell said. “That gives us very strong confidence that we are dealing with a very stable product, commonly consumed in North America in bread and bread products.”
Construction completion is slated for Fall 2017. With a current staff of 38 employed by Rogers Foods, the company will see nine new jobs created when the expansion is complete.
“We would like to break ground by October 2015,” said Bell. “We are hopeful we can beat the official construction schedule, and to have operations started by the spring of 2017.”
Bell had high praise for the support that continues to be demonstrated for Rogers Foods by the community, City of Chilliwack and CEPCO.
“Chilliwack has been very special to us, and have been tremendous partners,” he added.
A project team is place, including two Nisshin colleagues from Japan, to bring the Rogers milling expansion to fruition. The new unit will be a little over 25 metres in height or about five storeys high, and will be able to process about 550 metric tonnes of wheat per day.
The new facility for Chilliwack is part of a management plan announced by Nisshin Seifun Group, to target “self-sustained growth” and the project will also include silo room for wheat storage and bulk flour storage.
The existing mill was built in 2005, after Nisshin acquired Rogers Foods in 1989, and Rogers Foods is now the fourth largest flour milling company in Canada.
In addition to the two mills owned by Rogers Foods in B.C., Miller Milling, Nisshin’s U.S. subsidiary, also owns three mills in the region.