NOLA.com / The Times Picayune
Pod Pack International, local creator of individual compostable coffee and tea pods, announced a $10.1 million expansion of its manufacturing facility in Baton Rouge’s Industriplex area.
At a Wednesday (May 21) press conference alongside Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden and Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp, Pod Pack Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Tom Martin said the company will expand its presence in Baton Rouge over the next three years, nearly doubling its staff to create 19 new jobs with an average salary of $30,100 plus benefits and $600,000 in new payroll.
Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 67 new indirect jobs for a total of more than 85 new jobs in the Baton Rouge area.
The new investment will expand Pod Pack’s existing manufacturing facility with a 75,000-square-foot building and install new equipment to increase the production of its products.
Pod Pack is a co-packer of coffee and tea products in North and Central America, packaging product into the individual pods similar to Kuerig cups. Companies ship their product to the Baton Rouge manufacturing facility, where Pod Pack packages into individual cups, then sends back out to the companies.
About 95 percent of Pod Pack’s business is from out of the state, and includes big names like Maxwell House and Folgers coffee, and locally, Community Coffee and PJ’s. Taco Bell also uses Pod Pack’s services for their new morning menu coffee.
Martin and his business partner Bill Cowell, who’s based in New Jersey, founded Pod Pack in 1996 in New Orleans, but relocated to Baton Rouge in 2000. In the 90’s, they saw an emerging trend as Martin worked for Community Coffee and Cowell was a coffee filter distributor to the company.
“We considered other alternative locations, but we are truly happy we chose Louisiana,” Martin said.
The market for single-serve coffee has grown over the last few years and prompted the need for an expansion, Martin told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Wednesday, adding, “Consumers are wanting more to brew a cup of coffee at a time.”
Martin noted while only four percent of coffee and tea drinkers were using single-serve packages in 2010, now 29 percent are following the trend, according to the National Coffee Association’s Winter Drinking Study. Pod Pack’s revenues have more than quadrupled since 2010. Martin declined to give specifics on revenues, but said they were in the tens of millions of dollars annually.
In 2013 alone, the company produced approximately 100 million pods.
“Pod Pack International’s expansion in Baton Rouge is proof-positive that Louisiana is succeeding not only in attracting news businesses, but also in creating an environment where native companies are reinvesting in our state,” Gov. Jindal said in a statement Wednesday.
“This expansion is a big win for all of our small businesses in Baton Rouge,” said Holden. “We are helping businesses locate and expand in all parts of our parish.”
“It’s important to mention that Pod Pack produces an environmentally friendly product, too,” Holden added.
The company adds variety to Baton Rouge’s expanding professional industries, Knapp said. “Pod Pack is a nice blend of food service and manufacturing, two things Louisiana does best.”
Knapp added Pod Pack, which is considered a small business in Louisiana having 25 current employees, shows that national business growth can originate from Baton Rouge.
“Through our business retention and expansion efforts, we were able to help the company see that business growth was possible and work with them on the incentives and processes to make this happen. Small businesses in the region are the backbone of our economy, playing an integral role just as the larger companies do, and we are pleased to see Pod Pack taking their business to the next level,” Knapp said.
“Pod Pack provides an innovative and relevant product to consumers throughout the U.S. We are proud that they call Baton Rouge home and are excited to see their business grow,” Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden said. “Pod Pack is a prime example of how the business-friendly environment in the Capital Region makes it ideal for growth: You just have to be ready.”
Louisiana Economic Development began working with the company to secure their expansion in February 2014. LED offered Pod Pack three incentives to expand in Baton Rouge, including a $760,000 award from the Economic Development Loan Program, and the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.