Maple Leaf Foods invests in plant-based facility

By Aidan Fortune contact

- Last updated on GMT

Maple Leaf Foods invests in plant-based facility

Related tags: Plant-based foods

Canadian processor Maple Leaf Foods and its subsidiary Greenleaf Foods have expanded their reach into the plant-based foods sector with the construction of a US$310m facility in Shelbyville, Indiana, dedicated to this market.

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.”

In June, GlobalMeatNews is hosting The Future of Plant-based Proteins Conference in Amsterdam. Featuring presentations from the European Plant-based Food Association, The Good Food Institute and Finnebrogue, it will discuss all elements of the plant-based sector. To book your place, click here​. 

Related topics: Industry & Markets, Canada, United States

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