Maple Leaf to Open Plant-Based Protein Facility in U.S.

April 8, 2019

3 Min Read
Maple Leaf to Open Plant-Based Protein Facility in U.S.
Image courtesy of Maple Leaf Foods

Canadian firm Maple Leaf Foods and its subsidiary Greenleaf Foods SPC revealed plans Monday to build the largest processing facility for plant-based protein in North America. The company said it will invest $310 million to build the 230,000-sq-ft site in Shelbyville, IN. Additionally, the company intends to invest $26 million to upgrade its existing operations for plant-based protein across its network. 

“With Lightlife and Field Roast, we own the leading brands in the North American refrigerated plant-based protein market,” the chief executive officer and president of Maple Leaf, Michael H. McCain, said in a company press release. “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 center of excellence for innovation.” 

The Shelbyville plant will double Maple Leaf’s current capacity of plant-based protein and produce a variety of products, including tempeh, sausages, raw foods, and the newly-launched Lightlife Burger, for customers in North America. Construction on the 57-acre parcel is slated to commence this spring, with production coming on line in the fourth quarter of 2020. 

About 460 jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project in Indiana. The company secured $50 million in government and utility grants and incentives, including $9.6 million dedicated toward capital and one-time startup costs and $40 million for operational support over the next decade. Maple Leaf said it will likely spend $34 million in one-time startup costs. 

Maple Leaf’s project is expected to offer the company a boost in achieving its long-term growth objectives. 

“The expanded network will support the company’s growth expectations through 2024, with future expansion expected. It will deliver an excellent return on capital to shareholders, in the range of 13%-16%, based on underlying long-term growth estimates,” the company said in its release. “By 2022, the adjusted EBITDA margin of the company’s plant based protein network will be in line with Maple Leaf’s overall EBITDA margin target of 14%-16% and will continue to grow in the following years as capacity utilization increases.”

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