Kellogg adds 180 jobs in N.C. Plant

Kellogg adds 180 jobs in N.C. Plant

Kellogg adds 180 jobs in N.C. Plant

The big cheese taste is getting bigger in Cary.

The maker of Cheez-It baked snack crackers and Austin-brand sandwich crackers and cookies is expanding its production facility off Weston Parkway in Cary and plans to add 180 management and production positions.

Food producer Kellogg Co., which took over the Austin Quality Foods manufacturing plant in Cary with its acquisition of Keebler Foods in 2001, will be hiring for both hourly manufacturing and salaried managerial positions, says Thuy-An Wilkins, a spokeswoman for Kellogg.

The expansion will make the Cary bakery the largest of Kellogg's 25 manufacturing facilities in the country, Wilkins says. The plant currently employs about 600 people in Cary, where Kellogg makes most of its single-serving cracker products.

"We are really excited about growing our operations in Cary," Wilkins says. "It's simply for the growing demand for our products." She didn't know how much would be invested in the expansion.

Wilkins says the company will be hosting a job fair to fill the hourly positions and job seekers can apply through the state Employment Security Commission. Managerial applicants can apply through Kellogg's Web site.

Sandy Jordan, economic development director for the Cary Chamber of Commerce, says he's been working with the company for about a month in preparation for the expansion, and he says he was told it was related to potential layoffs at other Kellogg production facilities.

Jordan confirms that the company will be working with the community college system to train workers, but Kellogg has not requested financial incentives.

Kellogg reported strong second quarter sales in July - up by 9 percent, to $3 billion. Kellogg North America's retail snacks business, which includes cracker sales, posted 9 percent sales growth. The overall company recorded $11 billion in sales in 2006.

Austin Quality Foods traces its lineage to about 1935, when it opened its first cracker production plant. In 1980, the company was sold to the Bahlsencookie and cake company to jump-start that Germany outfit's U.S. presence.

At the company's peak in 2000, Austin in Cary employed about 1,300 and posted about $200 million in sales. Bahlsen sold the Austin plant in Cary to Keebler Foods Co. for a reported $250 million in March 2000.

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