Ben & Jerry's ice-cream company will open a new factory in the Beer Tuvia area in southern Israel, near Kiryat Malachi, in a facility that up until recently served as a soup factory and logistic center for food manufacturer Vita Pri Hagalil.
Some NIS 8 million (appoximately $2 million) will be invested in the new facility, which will employ dozens of workers, and comply with standards set by the global Ben & Jerry's corporation as well as the European markets and US food authorities.
The company's previous factory in Yavne was shut down after it did not hold up to the exporting standards set by the ice-cream giant.
The new plant will produce Ben & Jerry's ice-creams as well as baked frozen items that are marketed in Israel under the brand name "Rosie's" and include pancakes, blintzes, bagels and more. In addition, the company will open a new retail store in the central city of Modiin.
According to Ben & Jerry's General-Manger Avi Zinger, another retail store is slated to open next month at the new Cinema City in Rishon Lezion, in addition to the one already operating in Glilot.
The company is currently holding negotiations for opening another store in Jerusalem as well. Ben & Jerry's annual turnover in Israel is estimated at some NIS 30 million (appox. $8 million).
Along with the expansion of production facilities, Ben & Jerry's is also planning on expanding to 16 ice-cream parlors and selling kiosks. According to Zinger, "Ice-cream parlors have regained momentum in recent years, and we have also returned to full activity.
"Ben & Jerry's opened its first store in Israel in 1988 and operated 16 branches at its peak. In 2001 it began to close down its stores dew to losses suffered with the break of the intifada and the era of increased terror attacks," Zinger said.