Lightlife tempeh vegan products just got a boost. Maple Leaf Foods has announced plans to open a $100 million plant-based factory in Indiana to produce the plant-based protein.
The Canadian packaged meats company’s subsidiary—Greenleaf Foods, SPC, will use the plant. Founded in 2018, the company includes a portfolio of plant-based brands, including Lightlife and Field Roast.
Tempeh is a type of protein that’s traditionally made by fermenting cooked soybeans. “Lightlife Tempeh [features] three simple ingredients: water, soybeans & lactic acid,” a brand spokesperson told LIVEKINDLY. “The steps [to make it] are equally as simple.”
First, the company cooks raw, organic, and non-GMO soybeans. Then, they ferment them using rhizopus oligosporus, a type of fungus. “This makes it more digestible and creates the mycelium network that bonds and glues soybeans together,” the spokesperson added. If it’s a flavored variety, they add in the flavoring. Lastly, the company packages and pasteurizes the Lightlife tempeh vegan.
Maple Leaf Foods expects to complete the purchase of the 118,000 square foot vegan facility—which is located in Indianapolis—in April. Once the acquisition is complete, the company plans to commence production of its tempeh products in the first half of 2022.
New Factory for Lightlife Tempeh Vegan Products
The demand for plant-based meats like tempeh has been on the rise around the world.
A new report by market research firm MarketsandMarkets projects the vegan meat sector will be worth $8.3 million by 2025. It currently values the plant-based market at $4.3 billion. The firm attributes this increase to the “growing vegan and flexitarian populations across the world.”
According to Maple Leaf Foods, the new vegan food factory will help the company meet the growing demand for its tempeh products.
“Demand for the total tempeh category grew at 38.9 percent in 2020, with Lightlife maintaining its position as the segment leader growing at 39.7 percent,” the brand spokesperson explained. The figures are from retail analytics firm SPINS.
Maple Leaf Foods originally announced plans to build a brand new vegan food factory in Shelbyville, Indiana back in 2019. However, the coronavirus pandemic delayed the project.
By acquiring an existing facility in Indiana, the company plans to “fast-track” its tempeh production. This will help the brand meet the growing demand for tempeh “while allowing more time to develop its longer-term vision for Shelbyville.”
“This expansion offers us the ability to deliver incremental capacity in a cost-effective, timely manner, with support from our other facilities,” the spokesperson said. “This facility will open new doors to meet the growing demand from our consumers and allow us new opportunities to innovate our portfolio growing awareness of tempeh and growing the category.“
If the demand for tempeh continues to grow, Maple Leaf Foods plans to double the production capacity at the plant.
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