Only a few months after its opening in Whitehall, the Cérélia bakery is innovating.
The French commercial bakery company launches its own brand, Jus-Rol, in the United States. Shoppers at Kroger, Meijer and other grocery stores can find Jus-Rol’s pizza dough, puff pastry, pie crusts and flatbreads, all made at 430 N. Route.
The launch of the brand illustrates the rapid growth of the company, which had not even started building its Whitehall factory two years ago.
“We are in the ramp-up phase,” operations manager Claude Le Bourg said during a recent factory tour.
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Cerelia (pronounced se-rel-ee-uh) opened the $29 million plant in September on the site of a former Kroger warehouse.
Although the plant is new, Cérélia actually came to Ohio in 2017, when it purchased the English Bay Batter operations a few miles northwest, in addition to the English Bay operations in Toronto. and in Vancouver.
Cérélia wanted to expand and modernize operations and built the 160,000 square foot bakery on Yearling Road in Whitehall, nearly three times the size of the old factory in English Bay.
Cérélia brought some of the 40 workers from the old factory to the new one, but mostly hired new employees because the jobs were different, said Dominque Lacroix, director of operations and supply chain at the plant.
Today, the bakery employs 121 workers, but Cérélia is looking for 10 more to provide a second team in anticipation of managing three teams at the factory. Eventually, the company has the possibility of tripling in size.
“We plan to grow, that’s for sure,” said Le Bourg. “The timing, we’re not sure, but I’m convinced within the next five years.”
In addition to providing more space and capacity, the new plant allows strict separation of lines into gluten-free dough, pizza dough, puff pastry and pie crust.
“If you get puff pastry contaminated with yeast, you get a croissant,” joked Le Bourg.
The facility is called a bakery, but nothing is baked there. Instead, workers make dough, some for Cérélia’s own brands, but mostly for other brands.
The main ingredients such as flour and sugar are stored in silos outside the factory and are transported to each of the rooms where workers – wearing hairnets, gloves and masks – mix them with d other ingredients, such as chocolate chips, to customize the dough.
The dough is mixed and packaged before exiting the dough rooms on the assembly lines to another room, where the packages are consolidated for shipment.
Le Bourg said Cérélia’s Jus-Rol products are based on European recipes and contain less sugar than their American counterparts. They do not contain hydrogenated oil or high fructose corn syrup.
While Jus-Rol now offers five products, Le Bourg said the range will expand, as part of Cérélia’s broader push into North America.
In addition to the acquisition of the activities of English Bay, Cérélia bought US Waffle in South Carolina a year ago, as well as the North American pizza dough activity of Wewalka.
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