International Foods Corp. has opened a $50 million 150,000-square-foot La Moderna pasta plant and U.S. headquarters in Cleburne where it plans to produce 4,000 tons of pasta per month utilizing state-of-the-art technology and robotics.
La Moderna is the largest pasta maker in Mexico and the Cleburne plant joins the company’s six other plants in Mexico.
“We think with this plant we can compete with the other options the consumer has,” said Jose Francisco Monroy, director of commerce for La Moderna and one of the four brothers who own the company.
“We think with this plant we can compete with the other options the consumer has.”
Jose Francisco Monroy
In a release, the company said the Cleburne plant not only marks its first U.S. property, but also is the beginning of its efforts to expand its U.S. presence.
Cleburne is roughly 50 miles southwest of Dallas, and is the county seat of Johnson County.
The new plant currently accommodates two production lines — one for short and one for long pasta — and it potentially could have two more,
Monroy said other new elements for La Moderna are the robotic packaging system and software to manage the warehouse and driverless forklift. The automated forklift “Naveta” delivers pallets in five levels, shown in a video during the inauguration ceremony.
Other notable elements include voice-directed systems, ergonomic palletizing workstations, and interactive technology with multilingual content, the company said.
DEMAND IN TEXAS SALES CINCHED DECISION TO BUILD IN CLEBURNE
The Cleburene plant will support the production, manufacturing, and distribution of La Moderna product throughout the United States, especially to customers in Texas according to Monroy.
“Our big market is Texas,” Monroy told Dallas Innovates.
The large local demand made Texas an easy choice for location, but Monroy cited ease of transportation and communications as major factors, too.
“The other reason is the railroads for our raw materials, this is a good point for the railroads. And we’re near our clients here and there’s very good communication,” said Monroy.
LA MODERNA GRAND OPENING FEATURED TOUR, SPEECHES
La Moderna celebrated their grand opening with tours of the facility, a ribbon-cutting and remarks from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain, Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray Caso and La Moderna’s Chairman of the Board Luis Miguel Monroy.
Abbott said at the grand opening ceremony that he believes La Moderna’s leadership will mesh seamlessly with the business ecosystem in Texas.
“The mentality that Luis Miguel has is a typical Texas mentality. He is already talking about growing and expanding and adding even more lines to make sure this facility will be larger and employing even more people,” Abbott said.
He emphasized the positive effect La Moderna’s investment in Texas will have on the relationship between Mexico and Texas, as well as the Texas economy as a whole.
“It is because of investments like this that the Texas economy continues to be the envy of the nation for economic growth and job creation,” Abbott said.
BEHIND THE SCENES AT LA MODERNA’S CLEBURNE PLANT