First Choice Ingredients announced that it has added major new manufacturing space with the acquisition of an additional 83,000 sq. ft. production facility in Menomonee Falls, Wisc. The new plant will more than double First Choice Ingredients’ footprint and will become their third large-scale production facility in Wisconsin.

First Choice Ingredients (FCI) is recognized as the market leader in concentrated dairy ingredients derived through fermentation and reaction technologies. Through these natural manufacturing processes, FCI is able to produce milk, yogurt, butter, cream and cheese concentrates with flavor strength levels many times stronger than its original form.

The addition of this new plant will help FCI keep up with the growing demand of their dairy products. “We have experienced double-digit growth every year for the last decade,” said Jim Pekar, president of FCI. “This new, world-class facility will enable us to grow responsibly to meet the needs of our customers and take advantage of new opportunities. We have customers all over the world, and they all know the best dairy products come from Wisconsin.”

The purchase of the new plant, which was formerly owned by Avoca BioProcessing, will also include much of the production equipment and machinery. The new plant has the capacity to produce over 10 million pounds of dairy ingredients annually. First Choice plans to add five new laboratories with pilot plant capabilities, which will be critical to creating and scaling up new and innovative products for customers. Pekar said adding this kind of production and R&D capabilities will enable FCI to expand their custom flavors division, which is already one of the largest dairy-only research and development units in the country.

FCI expects to test and evaluate the recently purchased equipment in the coming weeks with a goal of being fully operational in early 2017. Pekar also estimates a 30% increase in staffing over the next 18 months. FCI currently employs 110 employees. The new facility is located at N92W14224 Anthony Avenue, in Menomonee Falls, Wisc.