ConAgra expanding Ultragrain milling capacity
by Eric Schroeder
OMAHA — ConAgra Mills is expanding its Ultragrain milling capacity to meet increasing demand for the whole wheat flour product. Ultragrain currently is milled in only three locations — Commerce City, Colo., Alton, Ill., and San Juan, Puerto Rico — but ConAgra said it will realign its Alton mill “to significantly boost Ultragrain production” and reconfigure its Decatur, Ala., mill to add Ultragrain production. The milling expansions will be completed by July.
“These investments further demonstrate ConAgra Mills’ commitment as the U.S. leader in whole wheat milling,” said Bill Stoufer, president of ConAgra Mills. “This latest reconfiguration of our milling assets will give us four major Ultragrain-producing locations in our network of 23 mills, distributing production to locations from the Intermountain West to the Caribbean. These additional locations will provide logistic benefits as they enhance our ability to meet long-term Ultragrain volume demand and build additional network reliability.”
Mike Veal, vice-president of marketing at ConAgra Mills, said “everyone’s getting the very positive message to make half your grains whole.”
“That’s made this a very busy time for Ultragrain,” he said. “Our current demand and near-term future demand are covered with existing capacity, however, we are forecasting significant ongoing growth as we expand the product line and because of Ultragrain flour’s mainstream appeal. Soon we will have four very large Ultragrain milling centers, and with 19 additional milling locations, we have the scale and resources to add additional capacity when needed.”
ConAgra Mills uses exclusive technology to mill all-natural, specially selected white wheat to a patented ultra-fine granulation, eliminating the visible telltale bran specks of traditional whole wheat. The result is Ultragrain, a flour the company says “delivers the mild flavor, color and texture of traditional white flour, while maintaining the nutrition of 100% whole wheat.” Ultragrain was introduced to the market in the fall of 2004.