Tipped to be the largest of its kind in North America, construction on the site is expected to start in late spring of 2019, with production start-up expected during the fourth quarter of 2020. The site also supports future expansion, with multiple phases of investment expected over the next decade to meet forecast market growth. Maple Leaf Foods said it expected to employ approximately 460 people at the new facility once start-up is completed.
The investment has been predicted to double the company’s current production capacity and “support a rich pipeline of innovation to meet increasing consumer demand and fuel market growth”. The facility will produce tempeh, franks, sausages and raw foods, including the recently launched Lightlife Burger.
The new facility will be supported by approximately US$50m in government and utility grants and incentives, including US$9.6m towards capital and one-time start-up costs, and approximately US$40m in 10-year operational support. Maple Leaf added that it expected to incur one-time start-up costs of US$34m and would fund this strategic initiative through a combination of cash flow from operations and debt.
As well as the facility investment, Maple Leaf Foods said it would invest US$26m in its existing sites to “keep pace with ongoing growth”. The business recently acquired plant-based companies Lightlife Foods Holdings and Field Roast Grain Meat Company, and expected them to reach full capacity by 2020.
President and CEO Michael H McCain said: “With Lightlife and Field Roast, we own the leading brands in the North American refrigerated plant-based protein market. This investment will secure our ongoing leadership in this rapidly expanding market. By establishing a large-scale North American network, we will continue to meet rapidly growing demand for delicious protein alternatives and create a centre of excellence for innovation. It will escalate the financial contribution of this business and advance Maple Leaf's vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth.”
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