Osem inaugurate a new Bamba factory at its industrial zone in Kiryat Gat

Osem inaugurate a new Bamba factory at its industrial zone in Kiryat Gat, investing NIS 200 million.

Osem Chairman Dan Propper: “Osem and Nestle will continue to invest in the development of manufacturing in Israel.”

Osem CEO Avi Ben-Assayag: “Our dream is to see Bamba in every supermarket in the US.  This month, Osem is starting to sell Bamba at the retail giant Walmart, and we will later expand to additional retail chains.”

Today, February 19, Osem is inaugurating a new Bamba factory at its industrial campus in Kiryat Gat, in the presence of Minister of the Economy Eli Cohen, Industrialists Association President Shraga Brosh, Histadrut Chairman Avi Nisenkorn, and Kiryat Gat Mayor Aviram Dahari.  The factory, Osem’s third in Kiryat Gat, was built with an investment of about NIS 200 million, on an area of 16,000 square meters, and will employ about 150 workers.  During the year, a new state-of-the-art visitors center will be opened next to the factory, to provide an enjoyable experience for the entire family.

The factory will, in the first stage, enable Osem to double its production volume to about one million bags of Bamba per day, and later on to about 1.5 million bags.  Increasing the production capacity will allow the company to supply the increasing demand for Bamba in Israel, produce innovative products developed by the company’s scientists, and market Bamba to leading retail chains in the US and to additional new markets around the world.

For more than 30 years, Osem has been marketing its products to the kosher food market in the US and Europe through Osem USA and Osem UK.  In 2018, the company began marketing Bamba to retail chains in the US in the “Better for You” segment.  Osem is currently starting to sell Bamba through the American retail giant Walmart, and in the coming months it will begin supplying Bamba to a number of additional leading retail chains and pharmacies in the US.

Bamba is arousing interest particularly in North America due to the recommendation of the National Institutes of Health in the US, published in January 2017, that infants with allergic tendencies should be exposed to peanut products in order to minimize their risk of developing peanut allergies, as part of a physician-assisted preventive treatment. The recommendation specifically mentioned Osem’s Bamba as a good product for attaining such exposure.  As a result, the FDA allowed a claim along these lines to appear on products containing peanuts.

According to Osem Group’s CEO Avi Ben-Assayag: “Our dream is to see Bamba in every supermarket in the US and Europe.  Thanks to the factory we are inaugurating today, we will be able to double production capacity and provide for demand in Israel and the increasing demand for Bamba in the US.  This is the most innovative food factory in Israel, with one of the most advanced quality control systems in the world and a closed and automated production system.  The factory joins the company’s production plant compound in Kiryat Gat, which includes the Tzabar and Bonjour factories already operating.  In total, Osem will employ about 600 people in the city and its surrounding area.  The three factories will be part of a modern and advanced industrial campus that will operate according to the leading environmental protection, logistics, development and automation standards, and will turn the Osem compound in Kiryat Gat into an exceptional industrial site with high labor productivity and advanced international standards in all aspects of its operations.”  Ben-Assayag also related to Nestle’s involvement in establishing the factory: “The way in which Nestle has guided the process of planning and building the factory, and their significant investment in it, show the extent of the huge commitment of Osem and Nestle, and the immense trust Nestle has placed in Osem as a company that excels at innovation. This path ensures the continued development of Israeli manufacturing and Osem’s position as one of Nestle’s leading worldwide organizations.”

Osem Chairman Dan Propper, said at the ceremony: “When we invented Bamba 55 years ago, we never thought it would become the best-selling snack in Israel or that it would attract such interest abroad as well.  Over the years, Bamba has constantly developed, with a variety of new shapes and flavors, and the baby that became an Israeli icon is doing very well in Israel and abroad.  I am particularly proud of the fact that thanks to the talents and achievements of Osem’s employees, we are today inaugurating a new factory and essentially realizing the commitment of Osem and Nestle to invest in the development of industry in Israel and to expand sales of Bamba around the world.”

According to Meir Imber, Vice President of Operations for the Osem Group, “The factory was built according to the highest food factory standards in the world, with innovative technologies and automated manufacturing processes.  Minimizing the environmental footprint was a major consideration. The result is that its environmental impact will be less than that of a residential building:  A factory with no sewage, where all energy consumption is based on natural gas and zero waste sent to landfills.  By 2025, all product packaging will be from recyclable materials.”

 

The story of Bamba:

1964 – Congratulations!  Osem brings Bamba into the world as a cheese-flavored corn snack.  It is named Bamba due to the name’s similarity with the first words a baby learns to pronounce, even before Mama.

1966 – The snack does not attain the success that was expected.  Just before the plant is about to close, a new idea is born. Osem coats the snack with peanut butter, and it is snatched off the shelves.

1977 – Bamba is dearly loved, and Osem decides to release a new larger package.

1980 – Osem decides to produce Bamba with completely natural products only.  Later on, they decide to add vitamins.

1980 – Osem factories produce Bamba’s sweet little sister: Strawberry-flavored red Bamba.

1992 – The Bamba baby is brought into the world, and over the years, it becomes a cultural icon.  Bamba becomes the national soother for infants during the First Gulf War.  Thousands of parents rush for the shelves, on the recommendation of IDF Spokesman Nachman Shai.

2003 – Prior to the Second Gulf War, the Ministry of Labor declares Osem’s Bamba factory in Holon an essential factory during emergencies, in view of the assessment that Bamba is an important component of food for parents to store for their children.

2007 – From this year onward, Bamba is the best-selling salted snack in Israel.

2008 – In honor of the State of Israel’s 60th birthday, Osem decides to fill Bamba with nougat cream, inspired by IDF soldiers’ habit of dipping Bamba in chocolate.

2010 – Osem launches the video of its visitors’ center, which has so far been viewed more than 18 million times.

2014 – At the request of the community, and leading up to the World Cup of Soccer, Osem issues a Champions Edition – a mix of Bamba and Bissli.

2015 – A ground breaking study is published in The New England Journal of Medicine – a leading worldwide medical journal. The study proposes that controlled and early exposure of infants with allergic tendencies to peanuts reduces the risk that they will develop such an allergy.

2018 – Osem enters the American market, and Americans begin falling in love with Bamba.

2019 – Osem inaugurate the newest and most advanced Bamba factory, in Kiryat Gat.

1,000,000 bags of Bamba are produced every day, more than 20 million bags per month, and millions of people in Israel and around the world think that there is “nothing, nothing, nothing like Bamba”.

Osem was established in 1942, when three small pasta manufacturers came together to organize joint marketing efforts.  Today, 77 years later, the Osem Group has 9 manufacturing plants throughout Israel, from Yokne’am in the north to Sderot and Kiryat Gat in the south, as well as one of the most advanced logistics centers in Israel.  It employs 4,500 workers.  Over the years, Osem has developed products that have become icons in Israeli society, such as Petitim (toasted pasta, also known as Ben-Gurion rice), Bamba, Bissli, and soup nuts.