This week, California-based food technology startup JUST acquired a 30,000-square-foot production facility and 40 acres of land in Appleton, MN—making it the largest private employer in that city. The new facility will help the company scale its production of plant-based foods, such as its popular mung bean protein-based egg replacer JUST Egg, with the mission of reducing the price of those items to make them more competitive with animal-derived products. “To make our mission happen, we need to scale,” JUST co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick said. “Separating the protein from the bean requires talent, proprietary processing, and a supportive community. We found all that and more in Appleton.” The multi-story facility was previously operated for more than 30 years by ingredient company Del Dee Foods (which produced milk-derived whey) and houses industrial food processing equipment, a quality assurance laboratory, warehousing and administrative offices, and offers JUST more space for expansion. “Having JUST acquire our facility is a win-win for everyone, including the city of Appleton,” the facility production manager of Del Dee and co-owner John Droogsma said in a joint statement. “In one year, we have doubled our staff and JUST has plans to continue that trend. That is great news for our town.” JUST Egg launched in stores in 2018 and has since displaced the equivalent of more than 10 million chicken eggs. Currently, it costs JUST approximately 20 cents to produce one vegan egg and with its new facility, the company plans to bring that cost down to 4.7 cents per egg in the next two years.
Photo Credit: JUST