Illinois-based Greenleaf Foods SPC is planning to grow its central Indiana footprint. The company, which specializes in plant-based food brands such as Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co., says it is investing $100 million to acquire and renovate a food processing plant in Indianapolis and create 115 jobs.
Greenleaf says the facility will allow the company to increase production capacity for its Lightlife tempeh products. The 118,000-square-foot facility is expected to be able to produce 4.5 million kilograms of tempeh, a plant-based protein source, when fully operational.
Greenleaf is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Maple Leaf Foods and Chief Executive Officer Michael McCain says the facility is part of 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 McCain. “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.”
The first phase of the project includes the acquisition of the building, which is expected to close in early April. Initial production at the facility is slated to begin in the first half of 2022.
In 2019, Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to build a $310 million facility in Shelbyville that would create 460 jobs. However, the company says development of the project has been delayed for a variety of reasons, including challenges caused 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 near term, growing demand for tempeh while allowing more time to develop its longer-term vision for Shelbyville,” the company said in a news release.
Greenleaf says if demand for the company’s tempeh products continues to grow, it could proceed with a second phase of the Indianapolis project, which would include doubling its production capacity.