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US vegetarian food company to build €60 million factory near Porto

American vegetarian food company, Amy’s Kitchen, is going to invest €60 million to build a factory in Santa Maria da Feira, near Porto, to supply Europe.

The news was confirmed by the small town’s mayor Emídio Sousa.

“We are very happy, because the factory will create 600 new jobs, and will also generate more business in the region,” he told Lusa news agency.

The five-year plan is apparently divided into three stages, with the first involving a €37 million investment and the hiring of 160 people.

Construction is expected to begin early next year, with plans to open in 2018.

The plant will be built on an 80.000sqm plot of land – “the equivalent of eight football fields” – at Santa Maria da Feira’s Lusopark.

It will supply “all of Europe,” the mayor explained. “90% of what will be produced will be exported”.

In an interview in April, a representative of Amy’s Kitchen had already revealed plans to build a factory in Portugal.

“We are right now in the process of building a plant in Portugal to serve our EU market so we are not shipping food. That is something that we don’t want to be doing, we want to be able to produce in areas around the world,” Amy’s Kitchen VP of marketing Bridget Dwyer told just-food.com.

The project is supported by AICEP – Portugal’s investment and foreign trade agency – and will receive community funding, according to Lusa.

Self-described as America’s “leading frozen food brand,” Amy’s Kitchen is a family owned company that sells around 250 frozen vegetarian meals and products, all made with organic ingredients, including meatless pizzas, pot pies, soups, bisques, sausages and burgers.

It was set up in 1987 in California.

“Although we have considerably expanded our production facilities and the number of people we employ, we have remained a family owned and operated business, sensitive to the needs of our customers,” the company says on its website.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com