POCATELLO, Idaho, Oct. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, joined by local officials and community leaders, announced today that Amy's Kitchen, the nation's leading maker of organic and non-GMO convenience food, will expand its family-owned operations by purchasing the 500,000-square-foot facility in Pocatello formerly operated by Heinz. The new facility plans to be operational by December 2014.

"We're excited for this opportunity to immediately begin increasing our capacity," said Amy's CEO and co-founder Andy Berliner. "We've experienced double-digit growth in the past year, and this move is the perfect complement to our long-term growth efforts we've already initiated in Goshen, New York, as well as expansions in Medford, Oregon, and Santa Rosa, California."

"On behalf of the State of Idaho I am proud to welcome Amy's Kitchen to our great state. Idaho is a world-renowned leader in food processing – not only as a result of our wide diversity of exceptional agricultural products, but largely due to our talented workforce with decades of experience in the industry," Governor Otter said. "The reopening of this state-of the-art facility in Pocatello by a family-owned company that extends its family-style atmosphere to its employees is exciting news for both the community and the state."

Amy's CFO, Mark Rudolph, expressed gratitude for the assistance and support that Amy's has received from the Governor's Office and local leaders. "We are thankful for the extensive support and warm welcome to the state," said Rudolph.

Positive Impact

Amy's is able to leverage Idaho's new Tax Reimbursement Incentive (TRI) as a result of the quantity and quality of jobs the company will bring to the state, along with the significant impact on Idaho's food processing industry and the local community.

Amy's plans to hire 200 full-time benefited employees initially and ramp up to over 1,000 employees during the 15-year term of the incentive.

When the project is fully staffed over 15 years, the economic impact to the state will include new total wages of $342 million and new state tax revenues of $35.7 million.

Amy's is approved to receive a TRI credit of 26 percent for 15 years, which was matched by the local community with the Bannock County Board of County Commissioners approving a 75-percent property tax abatement that applies to the existing facility along with any future investments.

"This is tremendous news for Pocatello and the entire region," said Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad. "This project has been a great example of local and state governments working together to bring a new company with a world-class reputation to our community. Thank you to Amy's for believing in Pocatello's promising future."

Amy's and the Community

Amy's values its employees and the communities in which it works. The company's two existing plants provide on-site health clinics with a low co-pay for its employees and their families. Amy's offers scholarship opportunities for employees' children and a corporate giving program that serves its communities. Amy's policy is to develop partnerships with local agriculture to help meet the company's growing demand for fresh organic ingredients.

"Amy's Kitchen is a growing company, and we couldn't be happier with their decision to invest in Bannock County and bring hundreds of good jobs to the area," Bannock County Commission Chairman Howard Manwaring said. "Coupled with the potential opportunities this may create for local growers, it's a win-win for everyone involved."

Amy's Kitchen - Still Cooking (Independently) After All These Years

Founded over 26 years ago in Sonoma County, California, Amy's is a world leader in the production of natural and organic convenience foods. Named after Andy and Rachel Berliner's daughter, Amy, the company remains a privately held family owned business and is one of the few remaining U.S. companies to craft its own recipes, source its own ingredients, and make its own products in-house. Amy's prides itself on being like a home kitchen, only bigger. "Other companies manufacture food," explains co-founder Andy Berliner, "we cook it."

From one vegetable pot pie in 1988, the company now cooks up more than 250 delicious foods including frozen entrees, meals and snacks, as well as candy bars, cookies, canned soups, jarred salsa and pasta sauce.

While most frozen and convenience food companies neither source their ingredients nor make their own products, Amy's operates like a scaled-up home kitchen. As a privately held company, Amy's has the freedom to follow its own methods and make decisions without outside funding or investor influence. The attentive cooking methods and consumer communication engendered by financial independence give Amy's the capacity to stay true to itself even as the industry shifts around it. Old fashioned? Maybe. Still cooking? Definitely.

Amy's uses certified organic ingredients currently sourced from organic farms located mostly near the company's production facilities in California and Oregon. All dairy ingredients are made with pasteurized rBST hormone-free milk and do not contain animal enzymes or animal rennet. No dishes contain meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, eggs or peanuts. Amy's products are non-GMO and do not contain hydrogenated fats.

Amy's products are available nationwide in supermarkets, natural foods stores and select warehouse club stores, as well as internationally. For more information, visit Join the lively Amy's Facebook community and follow Amy's on Twitter@AmysKitchen.

CONTACT: Jon Hanian Idaho Governor's Office (208) 334-2100Source:Idaho Department of Commerce