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Carmela Foods receives more than $1M from DDEC for expansion

The Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish) will provide an incentive of more than $1 million to Carmela Foods, for the renovation of its operations with new machinery that will increase production and create 64 jobs.

Located in the Industrial Park neighborhood in the municipality of Las Piedras, the company specializes in chicken sausage production and will receive the incentive over three years. The incentive will supplement the company’s workforce and modernize its machinery and equipment. The total investment, including the company’s contribution, is $2.8 million.

“The expansion of Carmela represents our significant potential in the quality food manufacturing sector with export capacity,” Economic Development Secretary Manuel Cidre said. “At the DDEC, we will always support local entrepreneurship, which is fundamental to job creation and, in turn, strengthens the generation of internal wealth, necessary for sustainable economic development. The growth of the food industry is a relevant part of Puerto Rico’s economic development plan, PRopósito, which promotes food security and job creation.”

Manuel Coriano, general manager of Carmela Foods, detailed how the incentives have supported the company’s operations in Las Piedras.

“The investment in equipment and machinery has given us the opportunity to double our production capacity to continue expanding our customer portfolio in the export market,” Coriano said. “The capital injection into our operation has allowed us to increase our employee workforce by more than 50%.”

Coriano also said: “We appreciate the contribution of the DDEC for its support to industries, especially local ones like us. This contribution allows us to continue increasing our equipment and resources, which offers us greater production capacity and efficiency. These improvements enable us to continue expanding our business and sending our products to the other side of the world, produced by Puerto Rican hands.”

The company, which was founded in 1963 in Caguas, initially started with 57 jobs. In 2010, it relocated its operations to Las Piedras, where it now has more than 160 employees and operations include the entire production process, from mixing and stuffing to baking, packaging, and storage.. 

Carmela Foods is one of the few plants that are certified ISO 22000, the global food safety standard.

Currently, 42% of sales come from exports to countries including the U.S. mainland, Panama, Dubai, Nicaragua, Honduras, Canada, the Philippines, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Qatar and the Dominican Republic, as it continues to seek new markets and business alliances.

“This is possible thanks to significant investment in our infrastructure, which has allowed us to increase our production capacity and develop private label brands for food distributors around the world,” Coriano added.

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