The aroma of Chex cereal soon will be mingling with the smell of Cheerios that sometimes wafts over the Buffalo waterfront.
General Mills plans to add production of Corn Chex and Honey Nut Chex cereals to its Buffalo plant by May 2017 as part of a $25 million project that will help protect the 417 jobs at the South Michigan Avenue factory.
The local factory, the company’s oldest cereal facility, beat out four other, more modern General Mills plans to win the new cereal lines, which state officials said Friday should help solidify the plant’s local operations.
With the new cereal lines on the way, the local General Mills plant plans to purchase new cereal processing and packaging equipment, while also upgrading its systems for ingredient unloading and its large packaging and handling systems.
To help fund the project, the state will provide $1 million in grant funding, with $500,000 apiece coming from Empire State Development and a New York Power Authority fund that uses money from the sale of unallocated electricity from the Niagara Power Project.
The plant already receives 5,100 kilowatts of low-cost hydropower and 500 kilowatts of electricity from the Power Authority’s ReCharge NY program in exchange for retaining 400 jobs at the Buffalo plant.
The Buffalo plant beat out competing General Mills sites in Cincinnati, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Albuquerque, N.M., and Covington, Ga.
General Mills needed to find a new home for the Chex cereal lines after closing plants in Lodi, Calif., and Chicago.
In addition to Cheerios and the new Chex cereal, the 110-year-old Buffalo plant also produces Kix, Total, Lucky Charms and Wheaties cereal, along with Gold Medal flour. The plant has been making cereal since 1941.