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The Hershey Company’s new $300 million chocolate making facility in Hershey, Pa., is officially open for business.
The new facility, which will produce the company’s Hershey Bars, Hershey's Syrup and Rolo Candies, features proprietary technology that was developed specifically for the plant, including highly automated, large-scale Hershey’s Kisses Chocolate operations. The plant’s advanced information technology systems include automated, real-time diagnostics systems to help keep operations running smoothly 24 hours a day.
The expanded West Hershey facility is one of the company’s largest capital investments to date and is one of the largest construction projects in Pennsylvania in two decades.
“Today, we are celebrating our proud Pennsylvania heritage, the growing popularity of Hershey products in global markets, our continuing investments in productive technology and our great workers who make it possible to enjoy these iconic products,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and CEO, The Hershey Company.
The West Hershey plant is expected to contribute more than $1 billion to the economy of Pennsylvania over the next five years through supplier contracts, payroll and related spending.
The new 340,000-square-foot expansion at West Hershey is located less than two miles from the company’s original chocolate factory opened in 1905 by Milton Hershey. The plant’s workforce includes about 700 employees who transitioned from the original Hershey plant on East Chocolate Avenue – the company’s oldest facility, which ran continuously from 1905 until its retirement in April 2012.
One of the plant’s new features is the high-speed, high-tech new production lines that can produce more than 70 million Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates per day.
The plant also continues The Hershey Company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment. The building expansion was a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) construction project, and the plant will continue to operate as a ZWL plant.
The expansion at West Hershey is the largest component of the candy manufacturer's Project Next Century, a program to modernize and upgrade its global supply chain. Other recent investments in Hershey, Pa., include $50 to $75 million in upgrades to distribution and administrative facilities.
West Hershey is one of the company's eight manufacturing sites in the United States. Locations include: Hazleton, Pa.; Stuarts Draft, Va.; Memphis, Tenn.; Lancaster, Pa.; Robinson, Ill.; Ashland, Ore. and the Reese’s plant in Hershey, Pa.