Sweetener-maker Heartland to add up to 160 jobs

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Heartland Food Products Group, a Carmel-based maker of drink mixes and zero-calorie sweeteners, said Monday that it is planning a $21.2 million expansion that could create up to 160 jobs by 2017.

The money will go toward renovating and equipping a 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on Indianapolis' north side. The work will include adding production lines, filling machines, packaging equipment and blending equipment.

Late in March, Heartland requested tax breaks on the project from the city of Indianapolis, based on plans to create 150 jobs at an average wage of $18 per hour. The plant is located at 4635 W. 84th St., where Heartland also operates a 300,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility.

The extra 10 jobs are planned for Heartland's offices in Carmel. Those positions will average $30 per hour, according to Ray Kliewer, Heartland's senior director of human resources.

On Monday, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. anounced that it had offered Heartland $1.2 million in tax credits, based on the job-creation plans. The credits are performance-based, meaning it can't claim them until Indiana workers are hired.

The expansion is the second in three years for Heartland, which employs 300 in Indiana. In 2011, the company said it planned to create 68 jobs by 2015, a goal the company exceeded.

The 10-year-old company also operates a production facility in the Netherlands.



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