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Nestle Waters Completes $79 Million Expansion at Lehigh Valley Facility

By Colin McEvoy on July 3, 2017

Nestlé Waters has completed a two-year, $79 million expansion of its facility in Upper Saucon Township.

Nestlé Waters has completed a two-year, $79 million expansion of its facility in Upper Saucon Township.

Nestlé Waters has just completed a two-year, $79 million expansion of its 580,000 square-foot bottling facility in Upper Saucon Township, which included three new high-speed bottling lines and the addition of about 50 employees.

“Nestlé Waters is proud to be an active member of the Lehigh Valley community, both as an employer and a community partner,” said Plant Manager Mike Franceschetti. “Our decision to continue investing in the Lehigh Valley underscores our long-term commitment to the region, and we look forward to continued growth in the years ahead.”

The expansion projects at the $354 million bottling facility began with the addition of Production Line 17, which was completed first in late 2015. The $23 million investment expanded bottling operations for Nestlé Waters’ 0.5-liter bottled water products.

The company has since invested $56 million to build Production Lines 18 and 19 at the 405 Nestle Way facility, which are now making eight-ounce, 0.5-liter, 700-milliliter and 1-liter products, according to the company.

“This expansion by Nestlé Waters is just the latest success for the Lehigh Valley’s thriving food and beverage processing sector,” said Don Cunningham, President and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). “Nestlé Waters’ continued commitment to growth here is indicative of the fact that the Lehigh Valley has become a mecca for this particular subsector.”

Nestlé Waters opened its first Lehigh Valley bottling plant in 1995 with 75 local employees. In the subsequent 22 years, employment has increased by over 500 percent as a second manufacturing facility was built and operations continued to grow.

Today, the company employs approximately 500 people at its two Lehigh Valley bottling facilities, which have a combined payroll of more than $36 million, according to the company.

“The growth of our Nestlé Pure Life bottling facility is being driven by overwhelming consumer demand for healthier beverage options,” said Tara Carraro, Executive Vice President and Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Nestlé Waters North America. “We are proud of the role our products play in helping consumers achieve healthier lifestyles.”

In an LVEDC-commissioned study, Atlanta-based Garner Economics identified food and beverage processing as one of the four target industry sectors for the Lehigh Valley based on the site-specific characteristics of the regional economy.

They include the region’s central location, well-developed transportation infrastructure, strong workforce, water and sewer capacity, strong healthcare systems, availability of agricultural products for food processing, and availability of water and sewer lines to industrial sites.

LVEDC released a video last year highlighting the region’s food and beverage processing sector. The region’s other target sectors include high performance manufacturing, high value business services, and life science research and manufacturing.

Nestlé Pure Life and Deer Park Brand Natural Spring Water products are distributed from the company’s Lehigh Valley facility to major retail and grocery customers throughout Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, according to Carraro.

Nestlé Waters has also been environmentally-conscious during the expansion, Carraro said, noting that the Nestlé Pure Life East plant was the first food manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

The company has also achieved a 100 percent recycling rate at its Lehigh Valley campus, decreased the number of tanker trucks on the road annually by 1,200, and reduced the PET plastic content of its 0.5-liter water bottles by over 60 percent since 1994, according to the company.

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