Another plant-based food/drink manufacturer coming to Dallas-Fort Worth area

person pouring milk into chocolate filled glass cup
Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Another company that produces oat milk has revealed plans for a production facility in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

SunOpta Inc. (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading healthy food and beverage company focused on plant-based foods and beverages and fruit-based foods and beverages, on Aug. 19 announced further details on its new plant-based beverage facility, revealing it will be located in Midlothian.

The new production facility will initially be sized at 285,000 square feet, with the ability to be expanded to 400,000 square feet. When fully expanded, the new facility will be the largest plant in SunOpta’s Plant-Based Foods and Beverages network. This new facility, which is expected to be operational in late 2022, will bring up to 185 new high paying manufacturing and management jobs to the community. The city of Midlothian and Ellis County have approved a package of incentives, including a grant that will be awarded by Midlothian Economic Development upon completion of the facility and commencement of operations, and an eight-year tax abatement for a combined value of approximately $7.5 million. The new facility’s location in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area will also further SunOpta’s sustainability objectives, significantly reducing emissions through lower transportation usage.

It will operate the facility pursuant to a 15-year lease, entered into on August 13, 2021, with customary extension options. The cost of the build-out of the facility is expected to be principally lease financed, with the manufacturing equipment expected to be primarily financed under SunOpta’s existing delayed draw term loan, which was put in place in December 2020.

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“We are focused on doubling our plant-based business in the next five years and this new facility will add capacity and new capabilities to enable meeting our long-term growth goal. This new facility will give our customers added capacity to accelerate growth and will help lower their costs and our costs. This enhanced footprint will further develop our manufacturing and supply chain advantages to support growth across our business, including oat milk. The city of Midlothian is the perfect choice for us with a business-friendly local government, a skilled labor force, and a vibrant local community. In combination with our plants in California, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, the Texas location creates a competitively advantaged, “diamond-shaped” national network. As a sustainability-oriented food company, we are excited to share that this new facility is estimated to annually eliminate over 15 million freight miles from our supply chain,” said Joe Ennen, Chief Executive Officer.

SunOpta has a customer base that includes Starbucks, Target, Whole Foods Market, and other retailers.

Oatly, the world’s largest oat drink company, plans to open a 280,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing center at 7550 Oak Grove Road, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce announced on Aug. 11.