ST. JOSEPH, MO. — CII has entered the granola and clusters category after executives saw forecasts calling for sales in the category to grow 4% to 6% per year. The snacks category is the biggest reason for the predicted increases, said Scott Cowger, vice president and national sales manager.
“It’s the hand-to-mouth snack category,” he said. “Trail mix is growing, just like the snack industry as a whole.”
CII, based in Leavenworth, Kan., has opened a facility in St. Joseph to make granola and clusters. Two lines, one for clusters and the other for panning to add ingredients like yogurt and chocolate to clusters, already are in use. The 93,000-square-foot facility has room for six additional lines. CII expects a heat-treatment line for raw agricultural products, including flour and starch, to become operational in the third quarter.
That line will service “really anything that needs some type of log-kill step,” Mr. Cowger said.
CII in its Leavenworth facility makes inclusions and plant protein ingredients, including textured plant protein. CII expects to make oats pieces and rice pieces in the Leavenworth facility that will be incorporated into granola and clusters in the St. Joseph facility.“Any time that we can make any piece that would go into a granola or cluster, we’ll make it ourselves,” said Chad Myers, technical sales and extrusion manager.