CONAGRA Mills recently wrapped up a $21.7 million project and reopened its flour mill in Oakland, Cal.
With a capacity to grind more than 750 acres of wheat daily, the 100,000 sq. ft. facility doubled its production to 1.4 million lb. of flour per day, which is shipped to local bakeries and food companies.
Capped off by a community celebration June 6, ConAgra's Oakland construction project included operational and sustainable upgrades through new equipment installation.
The expansion marks the next step in the facility's evolution: Built as a grain storage elevator in 1927, the plant was converted to a flour mill in 1965.
The facility upgrade focused on innovation in an array of areas, from nutrition and farmer relationships to plant design and safety. Situated on the Oakland estuary, the plant sources hard wheat from fields around Sacramento and Fresno, Cal., and the Central and San Joaquin valleys.
Among the improvements to the plant, new wireless mobile technology was installed that features an automated, programmable logic controller. LED lighting also was installed throughout the facility and is designed to curb power consumption during peak periods.
Along with the upgrade to the facility, ConAgra also introduced its new polybag packer, a recyclable and more durable shipping bag that the company said is the first of its kind in the industry. The polybag packer is designed to replace standard three-ply paper packaging.
"This is the first mill in the country to move to a polybag system, helping us to maintain top quality, reduce waste and improve our customers' experiences," Jim Otwell, ConAgra national sales manager at the Oakland plant, said.
ConAgra Mills operates 23 mills in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.