Practice makes perfect, and Maple Leaf Foods is getting plenty of it. The company’s wholly-owned subsidiary Greenleaf Foods is practicing its prowess in the plant-based sector as the company recently completed an acquisition in order to expand its tempeh production capacity. In turn, the company has planned the build-out of a food processing plant in Indianapolis, Indiana (the Project).
"Maple Leaf Foods has been purposeful in executing a multi-tiered strategy focused on capital efficiency. To date, we have found ways to leverage the capacity of our existing plant protein manufacturing assets while successfully utilizing footprint in the rest of our network," said Michael McCain, President and CEO. "At this juncture, given the high demand for our tempeh products, this Project offers us the ability to deliver incremental capacity in a cost-effective, timely manner in a location that has synergies with our long-term vision."
Driven by growing demand for its Lightlife® tempeh products, phase one of the Project involves the acquisition of a 118,000-square-foot plant in Indianapolis which is expected to close in early April, and the installation of tempeh production equipment with initial capacity of approximately 4.5 million kilograms. The acquisition is subject to typical closing conditions, including completion of due diligence, as stated in a press release.
The estimated cost of the Project, including the acquisition cost, is approximately $100 million. Initial production at the plant is targeted to begin in the first half of 2022, and when fully operational, it will employ approximately 115 people. If demand for tempeh continues as expected, the plant offers the flexibility for the company to proceed with a second phase of the Project, which could include doubling its capacity.
In 2019, Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to build a new world-class plant protein facility in nearby Shelbyville, Indiana, but development of that project has been delayed due to a number of factors, including challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. By leveraging the opportunity to acquire an existing facility in Indianapolis to fast-track tempeh production, the company will be able to meet growing demand for tempeh while allowing more time to develop its longer-term vision for Shelbyville.
Stay tuned as we wait to see how this acquisition will build out Maple Leaf’s plant-based footprint.