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Sabra Dipping Co. breaks ground on new R&D center in Chesterfield County

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Sabra Dipping Co. broke ground Thursday on a new research and development center in Chesterfield County that’s part of a $28 million expansion for the country’s top hummus producer.

On hand for the ceremony was company CEO Ronen Zohard, Gov. Bob McDonnell and executives of the Strauss Group, who traveled from Israel. Sabra is a joint venture of PepsiCo and the Israel-based Strauss Group. It’s building a 20,000-square-foot “center of excellence” facility to establish best practices in culinary, food science, production, engineering, packaging, supply chain and product delivery. The center also plans to engage in agricultural initiatives with local universities, including research on chickpeas, fruits and vegetables, to increase the use of local resources.

It will offer a culinary center, offices, and research centers.  The project, in addition to a recently announced expansion of its existing production facility, will total $28 million dollars. It’s expected to create an estimated 90 new jobs over the next few years, which would bring the local plant’s total to about 400. Sabra said it will open the R&D center in spring 2013.

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