Ya YA of Canada coming to Ogden; company will create 302 jobs, invest $92M
Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner
OGDEN — Ya YA Food Corp., a Canadian food and beverage firm, will expand a manufacturing plant in Business Depot Ogden that it is taking over, investing $92 million over 10 years and creating 302 new jobs.
“It’s a significant investment in equipment and production operations,” said Chris Roybal, president of the Northern Utah Economic Alliance, which promotes economic development in Weber and Davis counties. The 302 new jobs, he went on, is “significant. It’s impressive.”
The Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, or GOEO, announced Ya YA’s plans on Thursday, saying the firm, based in Toronto, would be able to tap into a post-performance tax incentive as part of its expansion into Weber County. The potential incentive would be capped at $1.8 million, 20% of the expected $9 million in tax revenue Ya YA would generate over 10 years.
“The many jobs that result from this expansion will enhance our economic landscape and continue to build Utah as an ideal home for the food and beverage industry,” Ryan Starks, the GOEO executive director, said in a statement. According to a GOEO press release, the 302 expected jobs will collectively result in $197.17 million in wages over 10 years.
Ya YA makes and packages beverages and liquid food for companies across North America, tapping its “cutting edge aseptic and hot-fill processing capabilities,” GOEO said. The Oatly Group, an oat drink company based in Sweden, announced last January that Ya YA would take over operation of its BDO facility in Ogden, continuing production of Oatly items, and Roybal said the planned expansion announced Thursday will complement that plant.
Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner
Roybal isn’t sure if the Ogden expansion will be adjacent to the existing Oatly facility or somewhere else on BDO grounds in northern Ogden. But he understands the new construction is to start almost immediately and that new jobs should be created starting yet this year.
The 302 new jobs “is over and above the base of employees that they have at the (BDO) now,” Roybal said. “They will be new jobs to the Ogden area.”
The GOEO statement said the new positions would be “high-paying jobs.” Posts on Indeed.com, the job employment website, showed that Ya YA was trying to fill a range of openings, including packaging operator jobs paying $21-$23 an hour and other positions without specified pay ranges.
In the GOEO statement, Ya YA Chief Executive Officer Yahya Abbas cited the business climate and workforce here in its plans to come to Ogden, its first entry into the United States. “It is important for us to invest and grow in a location where there is both a good business climate and an available and skilled workforce. We have found Utah to be such a place,” Abbas said.
Ya YA, founded in 2008, produces and packages a range of products, including plant-based milk, high-protein beverages, juices, broths, sports drinks, dairy-based drinks and more, according to GOEO.
In addition to taking over management and operation of Oatly’s Ogden facility, Oatly said in its January announcement that the Canadian firm would take over its Fort Worth, Texas, operation as part of the $72 million deal. The change marks Oatly’s shift to “an asset-light supply chain strategy.”