LDS Church Expects Its New, Larger Pasta Plant to Help Many in Need
Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
- The new pasta plant in Kaysville, Utah, is expected to produce 20 million pounds of pasta each year.
- The plant moved from its former location in Kearns, Utah, to allow for bigger facilities. The new plant is 48,500 square feet.
In the hours that followed the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Church welfare leaders in Salt Lake City asked local priesthood leaders what food item survivors in that devastated country wanted most.
Their answer came as a bit of a surprise.
“They said they wanted spaghetti,” said Don Johnson, director of production and distribution for LDS Welfare Services. “We’ve found that pasta is used almost everywhere in the world—and it’s nutritious.”
Given its global popularity, it’s no surprise the Church is in the pasta “business.” Since 1963, it has operated a plant to produce pasta for distribution and consumption by people in need—and also used as food storage items by countless Latter-day Saint families.
Church membership has experienced dramatic growth over the past several years. At the same time, the reach of its welfare and humanitarian efforts has also expanded.
For many years, Church pasta products were produced at its plant in Kearns, Utah. Since 1978, tens of thousands of volunteers have worked the assembly lines at the venerable Kearns plant, playing a vital role helping folks realize self-reliance.
But increased demand for pasta necessitated a dramatic production upgrade. So the Church’s pasta plant was rebuilt several miles north in a towering 85,650 square-foot plant in Kaysville, Utah. The new pasta plant is on the south end of the Church’s existing mill and packaging plant, easily visible from Interstate 15.
“The new pasta plant will produce four products: ribbon pasta, macaroni, spaghetti bites, and thin macaroni that will be used for macaroni and cheese,” said Brother Johnson.
The high-tech pasta plant addition alone stretches across 48,500 square feet. Semolina flour from the mill is held in four bins and supplies the raw product for a trio of pasta processing lines. The plant will operate on 24-hour shifts and employs 24 full-time workers and 30 missionaries.
Approximately 20 million pounds of pasta products will be produced there each year.
The highly skilled, full-time staff is vital to the pasta plant’s operation. But Brother Johnson and others at the plant say the volunteers—gleaned from several nearby wards and stakes—who will work the lines remain the lifeblood of the facility.
“This would not work without the help of the volunteers,” said the plant’s manager, Bill Dutton.
Yes, the plant will produce prodigious amounts of spaghetti and other pasta products. “But we are really in the people business,” he added. “This plant is all about serving people.”
Brother Dutton said he often thinks about the many people in need who will enjoy a life-sustaining meal thanks to the plant's volunteers.