Sofresco — the U.S. brand of Portugal’s Sonatural — has chosen to manufacture its juice in a facility at 8 Lee Blvd. in a partnership with Georgia-based Universal Pure, which leased space in 2015 and rebranded in 2017.
Sonatural’s products are sold in 24 countries and five continents in retailers and food chains like Pret a Manger and Aldi. The company pegs itself as the top fresh juice brand in Europe.
Sofresco is looking to hire 15-20 local employees in the Malvern facility in “highly skilled management and factory jobs.” The salary and benefits are commensurate with those in the region, a spokeswoman said.
The company will source its produce from farmers and cooperatives in Pennsylvania and surrounding states.
Chester County officials have been working to build relationships with international markets, to help small businesses in the county expand across the pond.
“We embrace they’re a Portuguese company. We’re very proactive and very aggressive in terms of trying to get international companies to invest here in Chester County,” said Michael Grigalonis, COO of the Chester County Economic Development Council
Sofresco’s Malvern facility was designed so juice is pressed and undergoes a process called high pressure processing within 24 hours at 30 degrees. Its juices include avocado juice with apple and pear, and ginger and apple juice with basil, among others. HPP does not use heat, preserving fruit quality.
The Malvern facility will be important in Sofresco’s U.S. and global expansion.
Sofresco’s products are available in select Publix and Lidl stores in the United States, with plans to add more. The company will also begin selling in Walmart locations nationwide starting in May, the same month it begins production for Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama.
The company’s 12-ounce bottles sell for about $3.99 and come in under 70 calories. Sofresco also makes wellness shots, which are sold in 3.7-ounce bottles for $2.99.