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Maple Leaf Foods Inc. says it plans to spend US$100-million to increase tempeh production capacity with the acquisition of a food-processing plant in Indianapolis, Ind.

The company says the purchase of the plant is expected to close in early April followed by the installation of tempeh production equipment with initial capacity of about 4.5 million kilograms.

Maple Leaf Foods announced plans in 2019 to build a new plant-protein facility in Shelbyville, Ind., but it says development of that project has been delayed due to a number of factors including the pandemic.

It says by buying an existing facility in Indianapolis, the company will be able to meet the growing demand for tempeh while allowing more time to develop its longer-term vision for Shelbyville.

Tempeh is a plant-based protein made from soybeans. Maple Leaf says initial production at the plant is targeted to begin in the first half of 2022 and it is expected to employ 115 people when fully operational.

The company says if demand for tempeh continues as expected, the plant offers the flexibility to proceed with a second phase that could include doubling capacity.

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