Maple Leaf Foods and its wholly owned subsidiary Greenleaf Foods plan to spend US$100 million to buy a 118,000 square foot Indianapolis plant, which is scheduled to close in April, and renovate it to produce fermented soy product tempeh.
That project may spell the end of plans, announced in mid-2019, to build what the companies claimed would be "North America’s largest plant-based protein facility" just outside Indianapolis.
Maple Leaf/Greenleaf's Lightlife brand has specialized in meat analogue and plant protein products, including tempeh, and the plant apparently will operate under that banner. 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. Initial capacity will be approximately 4.5 million kilograms.
Maple Leaf didn't identify the former owner/operator of the plant. The company noted that if demand for tempeh continues as expected, the plant has the flexibility to double its capacity with a second phase of the project.
In 2019, Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to build a new plant protein facility in Shelbyville, Ind., just outside Indianapolis, but development of that project has been delayed due to a number of factors including the COVID-19 pandemic. "By leveraging the opportunity to acquire an existing facility in Indianapolis ... 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," Maple Leaf said.