After searching for the right location, the Shinmei Corporation broke ground on a new rice bun manufacturing plant in West Sacramento Monday. The facility will be in the Southport Business Park and will be the company's first plant outside of Japan.
Patrick McCallum was a consultant for Shinmei during the company's search for a location. He says West Sacramento was chosen because of its proximity to rice growers and because of California's demand for gluten-free food.
"Seven percent of California's population have gluten intolerance and it affects learning of our children and it affects other kinds of disease within it," he says. "So this is gonna be a product that'll be immediate, fast, very healthy with spicy stuff. Can go in the schools for a kids."
McCallum says the final two cities under consideration were Long Beach and West Sacramento.
"This is going to be the food hub of the area," he says. "With water that you have, with the port that you have, with the interest in food in northern California, it's the perfect space."
West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon says the city has worked hard to bring in businesses that will supply a growing demand for food processing.
"Because we're already the most productive agricultural valley in the world and we're also the center of food policy-making and food regulation, a lot of this food distribution -sorting, handling, processing, manufacturing- has to be built out as well," he says. "We're the logical place within the region and the region within the world for that to happen."
Wednesday, the German food processing company, TOMRA Sorting will open its brand new facility off of Reed Avenue. The company says it processes 70 percent of the world's french fries. The new building also includes a product testing and development center.
Shinmei says 150 people will be employed building the plant and another 150 will work at the plant processing locally-grown rice. Construction will likely be completed in April of next year.
The City of West Sacramento says about 40 people have been working for TOMRA Sorting in West Sacramento and that another 20 or 25 will be hired to work in the new facility.