Maple Leaf Foods to Build A $310 Million Plant-based product factory in Shelbyville Indiana
Maple Leaf Foods has announced plans to build a $300 million vegan meat factory in Shelbyville, Indiana to meet the growing demand for plant-based alternatives. Maple Leaf Foods owns vegan food brands Greenleaf Foods including the US-based Lightlife Foods and Field Grain Meat. The new 30,000 square foot facility in Shelbyville will be one of the largest vegan factories in North America.
Facility to double production
It is expected that the new facility will double the company’ s production capacity which will enable them to produce more vegan sausages, tempeh as well as burgers like the new Lightlife burger. At the beginning of the year, Lightlife Foods launched a vegan burger that tastes and appears like the Beyond Meat patty. The introduction of the vegan burger is an attempt by Maple Leaf to tap into the growing market of plant-based alternatives that are already dominated by Impossible and Beyond Foods.
Maple Leaf CEO, Michael McCain stated that the company’s investment in plant-based products is a growth investment with the launch of the new facility helping the company to exploit the booming market. In February the CEO reported that the company had a challenging 2018 because of declining sales. He added that the company would now focus on plant-based products because of their exceptional performance in the market has seen a 30% growth. McCain said that the company will continue to invest in vegan products aggressively.
Construction to be complete by 2020
The construction of the new facility will commence later this spring and projections indicate that by the end of 2020 the company will begin production. The new facility will increase the capacity of the company, and more resources will enhance innovation and development on new and tastier plant-based products such as vegan ground beef.
Dan Curtin, the President of Green leaf, stated that the new facility is a center of excellence for a plant-based product which will help in accelerating the company’s growth. He added that it will support the company’s robust pipeline of plant-based products to drive the company’s leadership in the industry as well as meet consumer demand across the US and Canada.
The President stated that the R&D team has achieved great milestones in the culinary boundaries of vegan products and they hope that the new facility will translate the ideas from development to realize full commercialization. Curtin said that they have received significant support from the city of Shelbyville, Shelby County as well as the state of Indiana.
More jobs for people of Shelbyville
The Governor of Indiana Eric Holcomb and Shelbyville city mayor Tom Debaun were among the officials present at the ground-breaking event for the factory. The mayor stated that the project will diversify the city’s employment opportunities locally as well as across the region. The facility will increase the production capacity of Greenleaf, and when the new facility opens, it will create close to 460 jobs.
Greenleaf is not the only startup getting into vegan products industry. Other giant corporations such as Tyson and Nestle have already launched plant-based meat alternatives that look like real meat. Maple Leaf Foods deals mostly with packaged meat, but it is venturing into vegan meat.