By: Greg Larry Cumberland Times-News
BEDFORD, PA — A manufacturer of organic energy bars in Bedford has obtained 82 additional acres and plans to construct a second production facility that could employ up to 500 people.
The Organic Snack Company, a privately held food-manufacturing company, opened its first facility in Bedford in May 2020. The company handles production and packaging for Victor, Idaho-based Kate’s Real Food, a maker of health-conscience granola bars and bites.
Started by owner Kate Schade, Kate’s Real Foods develops recipes for organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free and kosher snack bars. The Bedford facility was built to support the rapid growth of Kate’s Real Foods, said Mark Thaler, CEO of The Organic Snack Company.
“We have been blessed to encounter so much success in the short time that we’ve been open,” Thaler said. “It was out of need that we obtained this land to accommodate our growth.”
The company produces 11 million bars per year at its facility on four acres in Bedford County Business Park I. The new facility will be in Business Park II with construction expected to begin this summer.
“The purchase of the land will allow for the construction of additional manufacturing and warehousing space, with a total build out of up to 750,000 square feet,” said Bette Slayton, president of the Bedford Economic Development Association. “The anticipated investment in the project is expected to exceed $75 million and create 500 or more jobs in the community.”
The Organic Snack Company began with seven employees in the spring of 2020 and now has about 100.
“We’ve been honored to have a great working relationship with The Organic Snack Company over the past several years,” Slayton said. “Since the development of TOSC’s first facility, we’ve seen phenomenal growth come from the company and were more than happy to support them on another venture.”
Thaler said the land acquisition has been exciting both for his company and the Bedford community.
“There has been an increasing demand from consumers for quality, organic snack offerings made with clean ingredients, and this monumental expansion effort will be key in keeping up with that demand,” he said.
Shade, an outdoor enthusiast, began Kate’s Real Food after searching for an energy bar made from organic ingredients that met her tastes, according to the company’s website. When she couldn’t find one, she decided to make her own. Kate’s Real Foods can be found nationally at REI, Amazon and Backcountry.com, and regionally in Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Sheetz, Giant/Martins, HEB and Central Market, Huckleberry’s and King Soopers.
Slayton said The Organic Snack Company has become a premier employer in central Pennsylvania.
The company worked with the Bedford County Development Association for local development assistance, the Governor’s Action Team and Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority for state assistance and Dollar Bank for project financing to bring the acquisition to fruition.