Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Greenleaf Foods, SPC, have announced plans to construct a $310 million plant-based protein food processing facility in Shelbyville, Indiana. At approximately 230,000 square feet, it will be the largest facility and investment of its kind in North America. The Company will also invest approximately $26 million to keep pace with ongoing growth in demand at its existing facilities.
"With Lightlife and Field Roast, we own the leading brands in the North American refrigerated plant-based protein market," said Michael H. McCain, President and CEO. "This investment will secure our ongoing leadership in this rapidly expanding market. It will escalate the financial contribution of this business and advance Maple Leaf's vision to be the most sustainable protein company on earth."
The new Shelbyville facility will be supported by approximately $50 million in government and utility grants and incentives, including $9.6 million toward capital and one-time start-up costs, and approximately $40 million in 10-year operational support. Maple Leaf expects to incur one-time start-up costs of $34 million and will fund this strategic initiative through a combination of cash flow from operations and debt.
This expanded network will support the Company's growth expectations through 2024, with future expansion expected.
The acquisitions of Lightlife Foods Holding Inc. in Turners Falls, Massachusetts and the Field Roast Grain Meat Company in Seattle, Washington provided Maple Leaf with the #1 and #2 brands, a diversified product portfolio, and an extensive customer base for refrigerated plant-based protein. These businesses are expected to reach full capacity utilization in 2020.
According to the company, plant-based protein represent a $1 billion North American market. Refrigerated products represent approximately 24 percent of the total market and delivered approximately 40 percent sales growth in 2018. High growth rates are expected to continue as people increasingly seek more protein in their diet.
The new Shelbyville facility will double the Company's current production capacity and produce tempeh, franks, sausages and raw foods. It will service customers across North America, expanding and complementing the Company's existing, extensive supply chain network.
Construction on the 57-acre property is expected to start in late spring of 2019, with production start-up anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2020. The Company expects to employ approximately 460 people at the new facility once start-up is completed.