Hain Pure Protein, a joint venture between US natural and organics group Hain Celestial and Pegasus Capital Advisors, is to expand its Plainville, New York facility.

The expansion, announced yesterday (1 December), is to meet the growing demand for natural, antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed, kosher poultry products.

Around 90 employees will temporarily leave the plant at the beginning of January while modification takes place, and will be "welcomed back", the company said, once the expansion is complete.

Production on the new kosher line is expected to begin in late February, and as a result of the conversion, the number of employees will increase, Hain said. During this time, production of Plainville Farms turkeys will move to Hain Pure Protein's New Oxford, Pennsylvania facility, which is expected to result in "increased cost savings and efficiencies" at the facility.

"As we said when we purchased Plainville Turkey Farm in August, 2007, we were excited to increase our speciality poultry product offerings, and we hoped to be able to expand our operations and product offerings within New York State," said David Wiggins, president of Hain Pure Protein.

"We see increasing demand for quality kosher poultry, and in order for Hain Pure Protein to meet this growing demand for natural, antibiotic-free, vegetarian-fed, kosher chicken and turkey products, the plant will be closed for production at the end of December with an expected reopening in approximately eight weeks with the facility adapted for new kosher production.

"The employees who have made our Plainville turkey operation the success it is today will be welcomed back at the commencement of kosher production."