In a move that’s sure to make Ogdenville jealous (Simpsons fans, anyone?), Maple Leaf Foods Inc., and its subsidiary Greenleaf Foods, SPC, recently announced the construction of a massive plant-based protein food processing facility in Shelbyville, Indiana.
"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,” noted President and CEO Michael H. McCain. “It will escalate the financial contribution of this business and advance Maple Leaf's vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth."
At approximately 230,000 square feet, the new facility will be the largest and most modern facility of its kind in North America, according to a press release. The company hopes that the $310 million investment will help to cement itself as a leader in the fast-growing plant-based protein market that is currently exploding. The new facility will service customers across North America, producing sausages, tempeh, franks, and raw foods, including the recently launched Lightlife™ Burger. While the facility will expand the company’s current supply chain network, the company also plans to invest $26 million in its existing facilities to keep pace with its ongoing growth.
The new facility will be supported by around US $50 million in government and utility grants and incentives, including US $9.6 million towards capital and one-time start-up costs, and approximately US $40 million in 10-year operational support, according to the press release. Maple Leaf anticipates a one-time start-up cost of U.S. $34 million, and plans to fund the investment through a combination of cash flow from operations and debt.
Late spring 2019 is when construction of the 57-acre property is planned to start, with production start-up expected in the fourth quarter of 2020. Well located with easy access for labour recruitment and freight traffic, the site supports future expansion with multiple phases of investment expected over the next ten years to meet forecasted market growth. Once start-up is completed, the company expects to employ approximately 460 people.
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