Shelbyville to get $310M veggie burger facility and 460 jobs by 2020, food company announces


Alexandria Burris, Indianapolis Star (IN)

April 8, 2019


Chicago-based Greenleaf Foods SPC, and its parent company Maple Leaf Foods of Canada, plans to build a $310 million plant-based protein manufacturing facility in Shelbyville, the company announced Monday.


The 57-acre site, at Interstate 74 and Ind. 44, will produce 60 million pounds of plant-based protein products annually, specifically for Greenleaf Foods' Lightlife Foods and Field Roast brands, the company said in a news release.


GreenLeaf Foods makes vegetarian burgers, hot dogs and other plant-based protein products.


The Shelbyville plant is slated to become operational late next year and is expected to be fully operational in 2021. The facility is expected to generate up to 460 jobs, the company said.


"For us, it's about the opportunities," said Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun. "We took a piece of land that pays about $2,000 a year in taxes, and we have created an opportunity here that's 450 jobs, $300 million in investment."


Greenleaf Foods is touting the planned 230,000-square-foot facility as the largest plant-based protein facility in North America, adding that the plant will allow it to more than double its production. Greenleaf Foods also has facilities in Seattle and Turners Falls, Massachusetts.


“Our new facility will be a center of plant-based protein excellence that helps accelerate our company’s growth. This will support our rich pipeline of innovative products that both satisfy increasing consumer demand and drive our continued leadership of this dynamic category in the U.S. and Canada into the future," Greenleaf President Dan Curtin said in a news release.


Greenleaf, which currently employs 370 people, was formed in 2018 to operate Lightlife and Field Roast under one banner.  In January, the company launched a pea-protein-based product line that includes the Lightlife burger, ground Italian sausage and Bratwurst sausage. Those products will be made at the Shelbyville facility, along with other products from the Lightlife and Field Roast Grain Meat Co. brands.


Greenleaf Foods said the new facility will help it meet U.S. demand for plant-based alternatives to meat.


Retail sales of plant-based meat alternatives grew 23 percent in 2018 from the previous year, exceeding $767 million, according to The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that commissioned a report on the industry from market research firm Nielsen.


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which leads the state's economic development efforts, said it has offered up to $5 million in conditional tax credits and up to $1 million in training grants based on Greenleaf Foods' job creation plans.


The tax credits are...