Freshpet, Inc., utilized the expertise of Blue Rock Construction to transform a 58,000-square-foot dairy into a state-of-the-art refrigerated pet food manufacturing facility in Bethlehem, PA.
In 2013, Blue Rock completed the first phase of the project by delivering a 65,000-square-foot facility that features freezers, coolers, a quality control lab, office and locker room. The construction timeline was extremely compressed as the building was purchased, renovated and started to produce product in less than a year.
“The timeline could not have been achieved without Blue Rock scrutinizing details every step of the way,” said Michael Hieger, Vice President of Manufacturing for Freshpet. “Blue Rock did a great job of managing and coordinating various contractors to ensure all work was being completed in a timely manner.”
The facility was built to resemble human-grade manufacturing standards since the location manufactures all Freshpet food recipes. The plant, located in the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park IV, is its only manufacturing facility, distributing to 11,000 stores nationwide.
“Blue Rock designed the Freshpet facility like none other,” said Hieger. “The refrigerated pet food industry is in its infancy, so there was not a boilerplate set of blueprints to follow. The factory was designed to higher standards than most human food facilities and is truly a custom-designed and engineered facility.”
EXPANSION & RENOVATIONS
Two years after Freshpet opened its new facility, Blue Rock started work on a 40,000-square-foot expansion project. The first phase, which was completed in July 2015, focused on repositioning the inbound docks to optimize the flow of fresh ingredients through the Freshpet Kitchens.
The second phase focused on the infrastructure, including two additional state-of-the-art production lines custom built to prepare Freshpet’s proprietary recipes.
Because Freshpet’s number one priority is the pets’ safety, the expansion also includes an advanced quality assurance lab where microbiology testing for food safety and quality is conducted. This new facility will be registered with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and earn a Safe Quality Food Level 3 Certification, the highest honor of its kind.
Based in Secaucus, NJ, Freshpet is an American manufacturer of refrigerated food and treats for dogs and cats using natural ingredients, and are the first in the fresh and refrigerated category to be distributed across North America. It was founded in 2006 by pet food industry professionals and combines meats with fresh fruits and vegetables to make a variety of foods and treats for pets.