Vion CEO Ronald Lotgerink announced earlier this year that his company would introduce meat alternatives as part of its strategy of building food chains based on market demand.
Vion is now planning to open a dedicated plant-based site in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands.
The market for meat alternatives has been growing over the past few years and it is expected to continue to grow, the company notes. As well as Vion’s home markets in the Netherlands and Germany, other parts of Europe like the UK, Italy and France are also growing markets for meat alternatives, it believes - mainly the result of eating habits of so-called flexitarians, who regularly buy these products.
The Vion site in Leeuwarden was built in 2017 and is currently operating as a beef facility. It was built according to the latest standards, the company says, which means it can be easily adjusted to become suitable for plant-based production. The site can be scaled up to add more production lines, freezing facilities and a larger storage capacity. Current employees will not be affected by the change.
Lotgerink said: “The capacity for livestock processing in the Netherlands has grown significantly in the past two years, and has proven to be more than sufficient to meet the demand. Given the knowledge we gained from our investment a few years ago, we are now making the strategic choice to invest in a dedicated plant-based site in Leeuwarden. We look forward to continue our relationships with our livestock suppliers at other Vion sites and welcome arable farmers as new suppliers in our plant-based chain.