Iowa Food Manufacturer Expands to Meet Demand


Mrs. Clark’s Foods, maker of a wide variety of juices, sauces and dressings has recently announced expansion plans at its Ankeny, Iowa, facilities by nearly 70 percent to meet growing demand. The company will be adding 69,000 square feet of food manufacturing, refrigeration and warehouse space to its 100,000 square foot plant and adding 13 employees to its payroll. The capital investment is expected to hit $7.3 million.

The company manufactures its own branded products that are sold in Iowa supermarkets and served in school lunch programs around the country. It also contracts with other national and international food companies to manufacture products under customers’ proprietary brands. The company is one of the largest exporters of mayonnaise to the Arabian peninsula.

Founded in the 1920s, Mrs. Clark’s chose its Iowa location because the state produces an abundance of soybean oil and cornstarch that are used in its products.

Did you know Iowa is a major food hub?

  • Iowa is home to 34 of the largest 100 food manufacturers/processors (Source: Food
    Processing Magazine, 2014)
  • Iowa is the number one producer of corn, pork and eggs. (Source: USDA, 2014)
  • Over a fifth (21.4 %) of Iowa’s manufacturing GDP comes from the food processing industry.
  • More than 900 Iowa food processors generate nearly $37 billion worth of food products annually.

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Iowa’s NewLink Genetics Steals the Spotlight

Headquartered in the ISU Research Park, NewLink Genetics’ cutting-edge immunotherapy and Ebola vaccine research has put the international spotlight on Iowa’s growing biomedical industry. Employing 100 people in Iowa, the company was recently profiled by The Wall Street Journal about its research work and global recruitment efforts.  With the 7th lowest cost of doing business,  a competitive 6.5 percent refundable R&D tax credit and ideal quality of life, Iowa provides NewLink Genetics with a competitive advantage to the biomedical hubs on either of the coasts. The company has successfully recruited researchers and biologists from across the global to work in central Iowa.

Triggering the body’s natural immune system to fight cancerous tumors, the biopharmaceutical company solidified a major research deal last year with Genentech that has the potential to earn the company a $1 billion payout. Plus, the Ames-based company partnered with Merk to collaborate on an Ebola vaccine licensed from the Public Health Agency of Canada. Phase one of vaccine trials on healthy volunteers at the Walter Reed Institute of Research in Bethesda, M.D., were reported as promising. The early phase trials and Merk partnership earned NewLink a contract with the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency in March 2015, to begin toxicology studies of the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Founded in 1999, NewLink Genetics represents a rapidly growing health care biotechnology sector in Iowa. The company focuses on developing vaccines and other treatments that stimulate the body’s immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells and communicable diseases, including pancreatic, prostate, lung and breast cancer, melanoma, influenza and other diseases.

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Cultivating Growth in Central Iowa

Iowa’s Cultivation Corridor – the Ames / Des Moines economic region, anchored by Iowa State University and several leading ag biosciences companies,  has built up serious momentum. Nearly $1.8 billion worth of economic investment has been pumped into central Iowa over the last several years. Major companies find the region to have a welcoming roster of industry heavyweights like Kemin, Harrisvaccines, Monsanto and John Deere – plus access to raw materials, a large talent pool and a state willing to invest in R&D.

New Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIV) facility under construction ISU Research Park, June 2015
New Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIV) facility under construction ISU Research Park, June 2015

In late 2014, Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (BIV) announced a  $110 million capital investment  to its livestock pharmaceuticals production and biological research facilities in both Fort Dodge and Ames. The new BIV facility in Ames will be a large component of the recently-announced expansion of the ISU Research Park.  The research park  is home to several animal and human health research companies like NewLink Genetics and Harrisvaccines. Also in 2014, DuPont Pioneer announced plans for a new seed treatment center as part of a $50 million expansion. Global ag and construction equipment manufacturers Vermeer and Hagie Manufacturing also announced satellite expansions to their locations at the research park.

ISU Research Park, Economic Development Center construction, June 2015
ISU Research Park, Economic Development Center construction, June 2015

Over the past 10 years, the Iowa Economic Development Authority has invested $81 million in direct financial assistance to more than 200 biosicence projects throughout the state. The state’s bioscience R&D expenditures are 12 percent higher than the national average and Iowa boasts the 7th lowest cost of doing business. With close proximity to markets, products, research and a support network of companies, Iowa’s biosciences ecosystem drives growth and success.