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Business Report: Lindt Expands To Add Ghirardelli Line In Stratham, NH

By Jack Rogers
From the March/April 2014 issue

Lindt USA is expanding their national headquarters in Stratham, NH with the addition of about 100,000 square feet of space. The expansion will allow Lindt to start producing Ghirardelli products in Stratham. The company acquired the Ghirardelli brand in 1998.

Lindt & Sprungli, the world’s leading producer of premium chocolate, has a state-of-the-art bean roasting facility at the existing 40,000-square foot facility, a cocoa liquor plant which provides Lindt USA with the capability to clean, roast and grind cocoa beans, and ultimately to create cocoa liquor, a key component in the chocolate production process.

LindtUSA Stratham

Aerial shot of Lindt USA plant in Stratham, NH. The chocolate candy maker is adding 100,000 square feet of space and recently unveiled a new bean-roasting line. (Photo: Daconi.com.)

The expansion allows Lindt USA to control the entire chocolate production process, from bean to finished product, at the Lindt USA manufacturing facility—ensuring that all Lindt premium chocolate is of exceptional quality.
This level of control is something few chocolate manufacturers in the world have the ability to do.

A leader in the premium chocolate category, Lindt achieved the fastest growth of all chocolate brands in the U.S. market in 2009, along with substantial gains in market share. The roasting facility was the latest development of Lindt USA’s ongoing expansion efforts, which includes the addition of 350,000-square feet of production, packaging and distribution facility space over the last four years.

Bean roasting is an integral part in developing the final flavor of premium chocolate, and Lindt always controls this process, whether in the new U.S. cocoa liquor plant, or in other Lindt manufacturing plants around the world. The Lindt USA produces chocolate for the United States, Canada, Mexico, England and Australia using Lindt’s 165-year-old Swiss recipes and quality standards.

In 2010, about 40,000 square feet was added for cocoa liquor production, allowing the company to control every aspect of chocolate making from bean to finished product in one location. In 2011, about 36,000 square feet was added for corporate office space, new retail space and new entry.

Stratham Town Planner Lincoln Daley told the Union Leader they expect to see another proposal for additional warehouse space from Lindt in the next couple of years.

Lindt USA owns about 89 acres on Fine Chocolate Place. The Stratham facility is currently the only Lindt factory outside of Switzerland that can process its ingredients from start to finish.

Lindt & Sprungli was founded in 1845 and offers high-quality chocolate products in more than 125 countries. The country operates eight production facilities in Europe and the United States and employs about 7,400 people worldwide.

FOLIAGE FESTIVAL BRINGS IN $1.4 BILLION TO NH

According to a 2013 study conducted by the New Hampshire-based North East State Foresters Association and the Northern Forest Center, also headquartered in the Granite State, leaf-peeping accounts for nearly half, or 47 percent, of the $1.4 billion that New Hampshire rakes in annually from the forest-based recreation economy.

According to the report, all forest-based industries contribute $3.8 billion to New Hampshire’s economy.

The $1.4 billion in recreation-related activities, includes wildlife watching, downhill skiing, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, hunting and cross-country skiing, respectively. As a result of these recreational activities, nearly 10,900 jobs were generated or maintained in the state, the report said.

In 2012, New Hampshire tapped a total of $5.8 million from two other seasonal industries: harvesting maple syrup, which brought in $4 million to the state economy; and Christmas trees, which brought in the remaining $1.8 million.

The report estimated that these two industries supported about 190 full-time equivalent jobs in the state.

The nearly total $3.8 billion economic impact breaks down into three broad categories: New Hampshire’s forest products industry—things like logging, heating, paper products and furniture—which totals nearly $1.4 billion; the forest-based recreation economy, also worth approximately $1.4 billion; and the multiplier effect of these industries, such as when leaf-peepers eat at restaurants or shop at local stores, which the report calculated to be an additional $1 billion in sales contributions to the state.

Beyond hard data, the report also pays special attention to issues that
may affect the future of the forest’s economic contributions, such as carbon storage and its effects on the ecosystem.

According to the report, most scientists believe the excess of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is directly responsible for the climate change that is affecting forest-based industries. As a result of those greenhouse gasses, carbon storage in trees has increased slightly over 4 percent from 2006 to 2012. However, this increase of carbon could contribute to an increase in revenue for the state.

According to Joe Short, vice president of the Northern Forest Center, “Selling carbon offsets based on the carbon stored in forests could yield significant economic benefit as public policy and markets begin to value the contributions the forest makes toward mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.”

The study, which covered the four-state region of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, reports that, in total, forest-based economic activity accounts for roughly $33 billion in revenue and provides 178,000 jobs in the region.

ASSOCIATED GROCERS EXPANDS

Associate Grocers of New England, the region’s largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor, is about to
expand its physical footprint in southern New Hampshire.

Associate Grocers announced that it’s breaking ground on a 105,000-square-foot expansion to its 380,000-square-foot Pembroke location, with construction expected to be completed by the end of the year. The current building was constructed in 2006.

Associate Grocers has charged another company with local New Hampshire operations, Design Group Facility Solutions, which has offices in Concord, with the design and construction of the new facility. An automated product movement solution by Dematic is expected to be an integral upgrade. The company reportedly will be among the first in the United States to use the automated technology. The automated system will reduce the number of product “touches” and maximize the use of space.

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