As published in Toledo Business Journal - May 1, 2016
SensoryEffect’s food processing plant in Defiance
SensoryEffects, a food processing plant in the Defiance area, recently invested over $10 million to add a production line for its new product, Granular Flavors, according to industry sources.
According to plant manager Mark Miller, Granular Flavors will be used in hot drinks like cocoa, teas, and coffee. SensoryEffects sells to other manufactures who will use the Granular Flavors in the single serve market.
Granular Flavors has already been in production for over a month, and the new production line required the construction of a 2,500 square foot addition, which Miller also advised is 60 feet tall. Matrix Technologies, Inc., was the process design engineer for the project.
The company has already hired new employees – production workers, research and development, and lab technicians – and according to Miller may see about 25 total employees by the time they get to full capacity.
There was competition for this project between Ohio and another SensoryEffects facility in Missouri, however according to OTCA a seven-year tax credit issued by the agency in 2010 swayed the company to expand in Defiance. According to Miller, the company selected the Defiance plant because of the people who worked there and the proximity to other manufacturers.
This plant has faced adversity and a number of challenges to its operations. In January 2014, an explosion occurred at this facility that injured two employees. Powdered food ingredients formed a combustible dust near spray drying equipment according to a report from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). One worker suffered serious burns and was taken to a Toledo hospital and a second employee suffered smoke inhalation issues and was treated at a Defiance hospital and later released.
Following the January 2014 incident, SensoryEffects initiated a number of plant improvements and repairs. However, the company ran into problems with local building code officials. In August 2014, Common Sense Initiative (CSI) in Columbus, an initiative launched by Ohio Governor John Kasich and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, was contacted for assistance in dealing with this situation. As a result, the State of Ohio worked with the company and local officials to assist SensoryEffects’ decision to expand the Defiance operations.
“Because of the tight timeline on this project and the complexity of the major structural changes to an existing building, we asked for assistance from the Lt. Governor’s office,” said Jerry Hayes, executive director of the Defiance County Economic Development Office. “Paula Steele and her associates clearly helped to expedite the permitting process with the Ohio Department of Commerce. At the same time, our office worked through the local process of providing an aggressive community reinvestment area agreement for SensoryEffects that will significantly lower their future real estate taxes on the expansion.”
SensoryEffects provides a range of products to markets such as baby and toddler nutrition, cereals and snacks, school lunches, frozen desserts, beverages, and more.
The company currently offers three manufacturing options to produce customized baby formula products, including nutritional bases, fortified nutritional bases, and all-in wet mixes. They also have a line of Baby Melt-Away Puffs and Toddler Snacks.
SensoryEffects services the beverage market with a range of products and capabilities, including chocolate dairy powder, flavored milk bases, smoothie bases, tea bases, juice bases, and others. They are also equipped to add creaminess and opacity, enhance color and flavor, improve texture and mouth feel, create structure and stability, and to deliver nutritional properties.
Based on consumer trends in addition to research and development expertise, SensoryEffects develops unique functional ingredient systems that deliver creative flavor combinations and textures that drive innovation in the frozen dessert market, according to the company. These include different kinds of syrups, Kalva compound coatings, solid pack systems, variegate systems, flavor bases, and liquid chips.
SensoryEffects also has capabilities in the nutritional and functional ingredients arena, delivering customized solutions with targeted health benefits that align with the needs of today’s wellness-minded consumer, according to the company. The new Vital Blend Micellar Casein (MC) nutritional base offers a range of application and health benefits, according to the company, and The Jerzee 50 Sunflower HP CL features pea protein that offer taste and texture helping to deliver protein while maintaining overall taste and helping to sate the appetite. The company also offers a range of Vitamin A and D supplements, isotonics, nutritional creaming systems, and nutraceutical bases.
In 2010, SensoryEffects and its Diehl Food Ingredients business moved into a newly renovated 35,800 square foot building. The facility was put in place for the businesses’ headquarters and technical center which is located in the Fox Run Executive Park in Defiance. At the time of the move, the building housed offices for sales, customer service, marketing, and other business functions, and, more importantly, new laboratories, test kitchens, and a pilot plant supporting the SensoryEffects inclusions business. In addition, a new pilot plant supporting the company’s powders business was built.
In September 2013, SensoryEffects acquired the dairy and non-dairy creamer business of Quality Ingredients Corporation (QIC). Included in the acquisition were QIC’s Marshfield, Wisconsin manufacturing site, a Filtermat spray dryer, and other dry blending equipment, formulas, technology, trademarks, and intellectual property.