Maple Leaf Foods and its Greenleaf Foods subsidiary have announced plans to construct a $310 million plant-based protein food processing facility in Shelbyville, Indiana.
The site will more than double Greenleaf Foods’ production capacity to meet “surging consumer demand” for its portfolio of brands, including Field Roast and Lightlife Foods, which Maple Leaf bought in 2017 for $120 million and $140 million respectively.
At approximately 230,000 square feet, the facility will service customers across North America and construction is expected to start in late spring 2019, with production start-up expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Maple Leaf said the site supports future expansion with multiple phases of investment expected over the next decade to meet forecasted market growth. The company will employ approximately 460 people at the new facility.
Last October, Maple Leaf announced the formation of its Greenleaf Foods subsidiary to head its plant-based businesses.
According to the company, plant-based protein represents a $1 billion North American market. High growth rates are expected to continue as consumers look to cut back on meat intake.
Maple Leaf released a pea protein-based burger under its Lightlife brand in January.
Michael McCain, Maple Leaf CEO, said: “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.”
Field Roast’s portfolio includes plant-based sausages, roasts, loaves and deli slices. In January, Maple Leaf launched a line of pea protein-based meat alternatives, including a new plant-based burger, under the Lightlife portfolio, as part of a redesign to mark the brand’s 40thanniversary.
The range consists of a plant-based burger, bratwurst sausage, Italian sausage and an alternative to ground meat. Maple Leaf said the range “offers the taste, texture, aroma and appearance of traditional meat”.
Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Maple Leaf revealed plans last November to build a CAD 660 million ($497.7 million) facility in London, Ontario, which it said will be “one of the most technologically advanced poultry processing plants in the world”.
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