Case Studies Sabra
Virginia and Sabra Partner on World’s Largest Hummus Facility
Chesterfield County Facility Produces Country’s Leading Hummus
Sabra Dipping Company, LLC, produces the top-selling hummus in the United States. A joint venture between PepsiCo and Strauss Group, the company was founded in Queens, N.Y., in 1986 and has become a leader in the refrigerated dips and spreads industry. All of its products are certified kosher and vegetarian and its signature hummus, sold across the country, is produced exclusively in Virginia.
Sabra opened its facility at Ruffin Mill Industrial Park in Chesterfield County in 2010 with nearly 131,000 square feet and expanded in 2013, 2014, and 2018, representing a total investment of $250 million and employing over 700 people. Encompassing more than 250,000 square feet on 49 acres, the plant has earned both Gold and Silver certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program and is the largest hummus-making facility in the world. The state-of-the-art plant was designed to produce 10,000 tons of hummus per month, and the Commonwealth has kept pace with the company’s robust growth requirements.
The Virginia Solution
Location, Infrastructure, and Business Environment Get Seal of Approval
In 2008, Sabra was considering Virginia, New Jersey, and North Carolina for its new manufacturing plant to produce Sabra branded dips and spreads for grocers on the East Coast, and ultimately selected the Commonwealth due to its strategic location and market accessibility, transportation infrastructure, and ability to get the new facility up and running quickly.
Sabra benefits from an advantageous location in Chesterfield County along Interstate 95 and less than 10 miles from the northern terminus of Interstate 85. Virginia’s highway system represents the second-densest interstate system in the Southeast, with 28.3 miles of interstate for every 1,000 square miles of land area and six major north-south and east-west interstate routes. Located within a one-day drive of nearly half of U.S. consumers, Virginia offers companies a single gateway into critical customer markets.
Sabra’s Chesterfield County facility is also just 22 miles from The Port of Virginia’s Richmond Marine Terminal. The Port of Virginia is the largest food exporter on the East Coast and offers more than 1.7 million square feet of cold storage within a 20-mile radius of its Hampton Roads terminals. The port's $1.5 billion modernization and expansion project underway will create the deepest, widest, and safest commercial shipping channels and harbor on the East Coast by late 2024.
Last but certainly not least, Sabra’s partners in Chesterfield County committed to helping the company get the new factory built as fast as possible. A record 14 months later, the plant was ready.
Virginia is Fertile Ground for Business
In 2013, Sabra expanded the Chesterfield County plant’s hummus-producing capacity by 50% and established the Pearl Center of Excellence (COE) research and development facility to develop new food products and best practices in all aspects of food science, production, engineering, packaging, and supply chain and product delivery. A first-of-its-kind research and development center for refrigerated dips and spreads, the Kitchen at the Pearl Center of Excellence is where all Sabra recipes begin. The COE features a state-of-the-art culinary center, research laboratory, ideation space, a pilot plant, and hands-on research modules all aimed at enabling the company to develop the highest quality dips and spreads. The center houses experts in culinary arts, food technology and nutrition, and conducts groundbreaking research on chickpeas, fruits, and vegetables.
Sabra has also partnered with nearby universities like Virginia State University (VSU) on agricultural initiatives. Those partnerships include research into the feasibility of growing chickpeas for hummus in Virginia’s climate and the establishment of an urban garden on VSU’s campus aimed at promoting community nutrition and food education.
In 2018, Sabra broke ground on its third expansion, adding 40,000 square feet to the Chesterfield County plant for new cold storage space and more than doubling its finished goods storage capacity. The expansion also provided space for future packaging customization capabilities.
The ever-growing Chesterfield County plant that produces Sabra hummus for all of America is a strong testament to Virginia’s unique combination of advantages and resources for the booming food and beverage processing industry.