Building on the new site began in January this year, with food production expected to begin by the end of 2020. It followed a £6.8m investment in its facilities last year to improve efficiency and increase capacity.
Products to be developed at the new site will include a number of value-added plant-based ingredients, such as milks, creams, yogurts and custard. Plans have been made to extend the range to include sour creams, soft cheese and a mousse base.
Commenting on the investment, chief executive Mark Chantler said: “This decision is in direct response to consumers who are choosing to make lifestyle changes and purchase new and innovative products, as well as demand from our customers for high quality, valued added plant-based ingredients.
Focus on dairy
“Dairy remains core to our business and we will continue to explore strategic investments, partnerships and acquisitions that extend the range of quality products we are able to offer our customers, allowing us to offer complementary products alongside our dairy range.”
Meadow Foods has spent more than a year developing a bespoke blend of oats and rice as the base recipe for its new plant-based range, which it claimed achieved a balance of taste and texture.
The introduction of Meadow Foods’ new range of plant-based products followed the acquisition of inclusions, decorations and topping manufacturer Nimbus Foods in October last year.
Year of growth
In 2019, the manufacturer reported significant profit and sales growth, thanks in part to its expanded product portfolio, targeted acquisitions and improved efficiencies.
Speaking in January, Chantler said: “This strategy for growth will continue and is reflected in our recent acquisition of Nimbus Foods, which has allowed us to further diversify our portfolio and cement our position as a leading supplier of value-added ingredients.”
Plant-based food and drink sales have seen a resurgence in popularity in 2020.
UK sales for plant-based meat alternatives brand Oumph! have increased by 400% in the first quarter of 2020, compared with the same period last year.
Meanwhile, the global plant-based meat alternatives market is expected to hit US$3.6bn in value this year and increase to $4.2bn in 2021, showing growth of 17%, a new report from analysts Research & Markets has revealed.