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Investing in a Just Future: Introducing Our New Protein Facility

Eat Just’s new 30,000-square-foot facility in Appleton, Minnesota.

Today (December 12, 2019), we took another important step in helping to build a better, more just food system by announcing the expansion of our protein manufacturing operations to include a 30,000-square-foot facility and 40 acres of land in western Minnesota.

The plant has been serving the food ingredient industry for more than 30 years, operating as Del Dee Foods. With this acquisition, we’ll be able to separate more protein from more beans, accelerating JUST Egg sales and distribution around the world. We’ll also become the largest private employer in the rural prairie city of Appleton — an exciting and unique link between Silicon Valley and the Upper Minnesota River Valley.

For more than a year, Eat Just, Inc. has partnered with Del Dee to scale up our patented protein extraction process and the factory is now responsible for a majority of our protein processing. Through hiring and training programs, its workforce has doubled to nearly 40 employees and has the ability to support our production needs up to six days a week, 24 hours a day.

JUST co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick with Del Dee CEO Mike Lind.

We’ve already invested millions of dollars in processing equipment and have committed to expanding our presence in Appleton, so when Del Dee’s owners began contemplating selling the business, Eat Just was the ideal buyer. Current employees are becoming Eat Just team members with full benefits and equity in the company — and we intend to attract more talent to operate around the clock, seven days a week.

The multi-story facility houses industrial food processing equipment, a quality assurance laboratory, warehousing and administrative offices, with ample room for further expansion. We believe acquiring Del Dee is instrumental in creating a manufacturing infrastructure for JUST Egg that is dependable, efficient and expandable as we plan for future growth.

Eat Just co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick at the facility with employees.

“We have an important mission and exciting plans and I am certain that this facility on the prairie of Minnesota will help them reach those goals,” said Del Dee co-owner Lori Lind, whose father Del Droogsma launched the business in 1972 with a focus on brokering dairy products. Droogsma, who was born on a dairy farm in 1933, later became a pioneer in transforming whey, then thought to be a waste byproduct, into a functional food ingredient. The global whey protein market is now a $10 billion industry. “It’s both fun and humbling to think that this all began with one man, a Rolodex and a big dream,” Lind said.

“It was my hope that when the time was right, we would be able to sell our facility as a whole, with the factory running, and ultimately keeping our staff employed. Eat Just has made this hope a reality,” said Del Dee CEO and co-owner Mike Lind.

“Having Eat Just acquire our facility is a win-win for everyone, including the city of Appleton. In one year, we have doubled our staff and Eat Just has plans to continue that trend. That is great news for our town,” said Del Dee Production Manager and co-owner John Droogsma.

“To make our mission happen, we need to scale. Separating the protein from the bean requires talent, proprietary processing and a supportive community. We found all that and more in Appleton,” said Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just. “I didn’t meet Del, but I’m inspired by his ability to see the opportunity in what others saw as waste and turn it into a many decades-long business. We aim to continue his visionary mindset into the future.”

40 acres of land behind Eat Just’s new 30,000-square-foot facility in Appleton, Minnesota.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2019. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. To read the full press release, click here.



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