Kraft Heinz wins grants to expand jobs at Dover plant

DOVER — A state economic panel approved two grant requests totaling about $1.2 million for Kraft Heinz’s Dover factory.

The company sought a $131,130 performance grant, which will be awarded based on the creation of 28 new full-time jobs. Kraft Heinz also requested a capital grant of up to $1.05 million — a 3 percent match of $35 million that could be put toward the Dover facility.

The company is expanding its bakery division at the plant on West North Street.

James Waddington, director of the Kent Economic Partnership, said the factory has been receiving bread shipped from a Kraft Heinz factory in Federalsburg, Maryland.

“There’s been some discussion around the fact that they’re going to initiate bread baking on the site so it allows them to be somewhat more vertically integrated,” he said.

In November, Kraft Heinz announced it would close seven plants, including the Federalsburg plant, which is located just across the Maryland-Delaware line by Bridgeville.

Federalsburg Mayor Chuck Planner said at the time the factory employed 89 people and made croutons.

Monday’s allocation comes out of the Delaware Strategic Fund, used annually to help companies and grow jobs, and was approved unanimously by the Council on Development Finance, a unit of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

According to a September presentation at the Kent County Economic Summit, the factory employed 562 people at the time and had an economic impact of $43 million. The site, which now covers 121 acres, opened in 1964. Its products are divided into three main areas: beverages, bread and gelatinous meals.

Prior to Monday, it had received $1.3 million from the DEDO since 2008, according to the presentation.

The grant request, Mr. Waddington said, indicates Kraft Heinz aims to continue investing in Kent County, which he praised as “a manufacturing-friendly environment.”

The company declined to comment.

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