New Vegan Food Company Expects to Create 60 Jobs

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COLUMBIA - City officials were on hand Tuesday morning to announce the opening of Savage River Incorporated and potentially 60 new jobs over five years.  Most of the jobs created will be manufacturing jobs.

Savage River Incorporated, a vegan food company, expects to open a 16,000-square-foot food production facility for its Beyond Meat brand in the fall. The company hopes to invest $2 million in the plant during the first year. Beyond Meat will produce soy based chicken-free substitutes. The product was developed by two MU researchers, Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff.  To create the soy chicken, soy protein is extracted from soy flour, pea powder, carrot fiber, and gluten-free flour.

"We expect to be launching our first product, Chicken-free Strips, nationwide in early 2013, and we will look to the Columbia, Mo., manufacturing facility to support the anticipated demand," said Beyond Meat Founder Ethan Brown.

The plant will be located at 1714 Commerce Court, off of Vandiver Road.

The product is already being sold in the northeast part of the country and in northern California, but the company decided to move because of the proximity to the researchers. 

Brown said the cost of the chicken-free strips is comparable to higher-end chicken products.  He also said unlike regular chicken these strips don't have any cholesterol and trans-fat, as well as the added bonus of eating vegetarian foods.