Alternative protein company JUST today announced it has acquired a new 30,000-square-foot facility in Appleton, Minnesota to expand its manufacturing capacity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The plant, previously operating as Del Dee Foods, had already been working with JUST to manufacture proteins used as the building block of its JUST Egg, a plant-based liquid that scrambles just like real eggs. With the acquisition, JUST will be able to hire more workers, staff more shifts, and build out the facility to increase manufacturing capacity.
According to JUST’s Head of Communications Andrew Noyes, the startup had already invested millions of dollars in the factory. After the acquisition, they will be able to create an infrastructure for JUST Egg protein production that is “dependable, efficient and expandable as we plan for future growth.”
In and of itself, this isn’t especially remarkable news. But it does speak to the need for plant-based food companies to ensure that they have reliable, scalable sources for protein manufacturing — especially as consumer demand for flexitarian alternatives continues to skyrocket.
Players like Beyond Meat, Oatly and Impossible Foods have all experienced product shortages over the past few years. And consumers were not happy. For now, JUST Egg’s footprint is still relatively small, at least compared to plant-based giants like Beyond Meat and Oatly. It’s available in U.S. retailers like Kroger, Whole Foods, and Safeway, as well as over 500 foodservice locations. It’s also sold in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and parts of China.
However, the company is smart to start investing heavily in manufacturing infrastructure — before the demand outpaces their supply. Especially as it prepares to enter the European market.