Instinct Pet Food announced construction of a brand-new, state-of the art, raw pet food production facility, the Center of Excellence. The build out of the new production facility is in response to the explosive growth of raw pet food. Planned at a $200 million investment, the Center of Excellence is designed to be LEED certified. The project is underway and will be completed in two phases, with the first $100 million phase expected to be completed by the end of 2023 in Lincoln, Neb. Gray Construction has been chosen to design and build the project.

“The new Center of Excellence will bring all of our raw manufacturing and raw processing in house and will be unparalleled in the industry for food quality, safety standards, and sustainability. Our plans should result in one of the highest levels of LEED certification for manufacturing facilities,” says Bobby Harris, chief operating officer. Our goal is to have a net zero carbon footprint with this building.”

The more than 200,000-sq.-ft. Center of Excellence will be built in two phases with all construction expected to be completed in 2025/2026. The facility will streamline all production by bringing all aspects of raw manufacturing under one roof. The first, $100 million phase of construction is a build out of the freeze-dried facility to meet the growing demand. Phase two construction will include frozen ingredient storage, grind, mix and blend operations, as well as bringing High Pressure Processing (HPP) in house.

Currently, production in Lincoln is done in four different locations throughout the city. Once complete, the facility is expected to more than double the total volume output, while eliminating 47 miles of inter-city travel, 20 touchpoints and 25 days now required in the processing and manufacturing cycle.

The expansion is expected to be one of the few LEED Certified pet food manufacturing facilities in the U.S., along with the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification Instinct already holds. Additionally, this state-of-the-art facility will increase the company’s employment in Lincoln.