Global Food Manufacturer Breaks Ground in Jefferson Parish



 

AVONDALE, La. - Today, the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO), along with state, regional and local leaders, celebrated the groundbreaking of a new $70 million processing facility by Fuji Vegetable Oil in Avondale. The project will create 39 direct jobs with an average annual salary of $77,000, plus benefits. Additionally, at the peak of construction, the project calls for approximately 200 jobs. JEDCO announced the news in a press release.

The specialty oil and fat producer will establish a food processing, storage and distribution complex on a U.S. 90 site adjacent to the Avondale Shipyard. Fuji's fats and oils are used in a variety of industries and can be found in a wide array of products, including desserts, infant formula, frying fats, and soaps. The company plans to process palm oil, palm kernel oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil at the Jefferson Parish complex, which will be the company's second location in the United States. The project represents the attraction of foreign direct investment to Jefferson Parish, with Fuji Vegetable Oil owned by Fuji Oil Holdings of Japan.

"We are very excited about our expansion to Jefferson Parish," said Andrew Bunger, president of Fuji Vegetable Oil. "It is an important step in Fuji's development in the United States. We are thankful to all the people at the State of Louisiana and Jefferson Parish who have welcomed us to New Orleans. Fuji has many great partners who are making this project possible. We are breaking ground today and look forward to working with all of our new neighbors."

"We are honored to welcome Fuji Vegetable Oil to Jefferson Parish," said JEDCO president and CEO Jerry Bologna. "Fuji's groundbreaking marks the entrance of another global company into our community. This announcement brings even more foreign direct investment into Jefferson Parish, placing our community at a strategic advantage to attract additional international companies, like Fuji. We are grateful for Fuji's investment and vision, and we look forward to working with the company as it grows and thrives in Jefferson Parish."

Fuji Vegetable Oil selected Jefferson Parish due to its skilled workforce, its proximity to new markets, and its strong shipping infrastructure, including access to international waters, which will be vital to the company's import of raw materials and export of finished products.

"This is an exciting moment for the West Bank and specifically the Avondale area," said Jefferson parish President Mike Yenni. "The Fuji project is one of several major economic development wins for Jefferson Parish this year, a testament to our strong workforce, unique assets, accessibility, and ease of doing business. Fuji's investment in Jefferson Parish continues to support this community as a global destination for business. On behalf of the Parish Council and Administration, I am pleased to welcome Fuji Vegetable Oil to Jefferson Parish. We look forward to a long partnership with the company."

JEDCO played an important role in the attraction of Fuji Vegetable Oil to Jefferson Parish. The organization coordinated meetings with Jefferson Parish leaders and provided tax incentive guidance. JEDCO also offered space at the organization's Conference Center to support the company's hiring and job training activities. In addition to those services, LED offered Fuji Vegetable Oil a competitive incentive package and access to the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart, the nation's number one state workforce training program. The company will also receive a $250,000 award through the state's Economic Development Award Program, which will be used for infrastructure improvements to the site.

"Plans for this project on Jefferson Parish's West Bank preceded our recent announcement that the legacy Avondale Shipyards site nearby has been purchased for renewed industrial development," said governor John Bel Edwards. "Both developments are great news for Jefferson Parish, New Orleans, and the State of Louisiana. We are attracting investment for a new era of development on the Mississippi River, we are attracting new jobs and income growth, and we continue to reaffirm Louisiana's position as the No. 1 state in the U.S. for per capita foreign direct investment. These are all great signs that Louisiana's economy is headed in the right direction."

"This has been an outstanding year for Avondale and the West Bank of Jefferson, and Fuji Vegetable Oil represents yet another milestone in bringing back an important economic engine for the Greater New Orleans region," said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. "Fuji Vegetable Oil is a great addition to our business community, complementing our growing food manufacturing industry. We look forward to supporting their success here."

Founded in 1987, Fuji Vegetable Oil is a leader in the production of ingredients for the commercial food industry. Headquartered in Savannah, GA, Fuji Vegetable Oil is the American arm of parent company Fuji Oil Group, which is headquartered in Osaka, Japan. Through its companies and subsidiaries, Fuji Oil Group makes everything from raw materials to finished products in the areas of oils and fats, confectionery and baking ingredients, and soy. Fuji Oil Group was established in 1950.

Fuji Vegetable Oil anticipates hiring for the project will begin in the fourth quarter of 2019, with the completion of construction scheduled for June 2020.

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