Global agribusiness firm Bunge announces it has begun construction on a new $500M soybean processing facility in Morristown, Indiana. Opening in mid-2025, the “fully integrated” plant will produce soy protein concentrates and textured soy protein concentrates for the plant-based foods market.
“There’s a lot of flexitarian demand that’s emerged around the world and we see that continuing to grow for decades”
The new facility is adjacent to Bunge’s existing soybean processing plant in Morristown, which focuses on processing soy for animal feed and byproducts such as soybean oil. Once operational, the new plant will employ 70 workers and be able to process 4.5 million bushels of soybeans every year.
According to Aaron Buettner, president of food solutions at Bunge, the success of Bunge’s first processing plant influenced the company to re-invest in the Morristown community.
“It’s really the relationship that we have with community and the farmers,” Buettner told Inside Indiana Business. “This is a part of the world that grows soybeans very, very competitively. And then the quality and the relationships that we have with our farmer customers to grow the types of soybeans that our customers [who] are consumers on the other side of the chain want is really high and strong here.”
Exploring plant proteins
In 2022, the company also made a $10M investment in its Creative Solutions Center. Located at the Bunge headquarters in St. Louis, the Center is conducting research on plant protein’s technical capabilities and used the funding to open commercial pilot plants for alt meat, alt dairy, and other foods. The site also features an extrusion lab, sensory testing facility, and food service kitchen.
Bunge states its new Morristown facility will provide a production base that can serve markets throughout North America, and eventually serve export markets, as well.
“Our business is global, and we do have the aspirations to be a leader in our business everywhere in the world,” said Buettner. “We’ll be looking for other opportunities to grow this business in due time in other parts of the planet.”
Buettner added that evolving consumer preferences are shaping the future of protein production.
“I think the consumer bases that are developing and entering the workforce today have a different perspective on what’s important to them, and are more driven by the environmental or sustainability concerns and then also from a nutrition perspective, look at this as an addition to maybe a traditional protein diet,” he said. “So, there’s a lot of flexitarian demand that’s emerged around the world and we see that continuing to grow for decades.”