British entrepreneur Heather Mills—who owns vegan brand VBites—is creating a food innovation hub in England with the recent purchase of a 385,000 square-foot production plant that was previously owned by conglomerate Procter & Gamble. “This is now my third factory purchase in the northeast to help bring more employment and expand the plant-based meat, fish, and allergen-free dairy alternative industry, as well as microalgae and vegan make up,” Mills said. “This recent purchase of a factory that has been sitting empty for nearly two years will mean it will bring more jobs to the region and we can incubate all of our VBites Ventures investments to help them scale up, manufacture, distribute, and sell in 24 countries around the world.” Mills began acquiring factories in the area last year to create what she called “Plant-Based Valley,” a reference to California’s technology region Silicon Valley. The new facility will help develop brands in which VBites holds shares, including vegan meat company LoveSeitan and frozen pizza brand One Planet Pizza. By providing jobs and boosting the local food production sector, Mills hopes to pave the way for a thriving British economy, despite the looming public fears of Brexit. “I am hoping that the supermarkets and foodservice industry will support British manufacturing in these difficult times, and Britain can unite to become a booming country in the food and beverage sector,” Mills said.
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