Novozymes plans $300 million Blair investment, making component used in plant-based food industry

The company Novozymes will build a new state-of-the-art production line in Blair, making components used in the plant-based food industry; a more than $300 million investment for Washington County.

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Novozymes said it has agreed to enter a long-term contract with a key player in the plant-based industry.

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“They are very, very good to Blair,” Mayor Richard Hansen said.

Novozymes already has a footprint in Blair, with facilities on the “biocampus” alongside Cargill.

KETV Newswatch 7 has shown you the existing facility before, where Novozymes produce enzymes that make corn and other products into ethanol.

“It’s provided a lot of jobs, it’s brought a lot of good people to Blair. There a lot of things we wouldn’t have in Blair,” Hansen said of the biocampus.

Now the company is planning for a multi-million dollar investment on the same campus, with a new production facility rooted in the alternative protein market.

“$300 million is a lot of money in my house, and that’s good for Blair. That’s good for our infrastructure,” Hansen said.

Novozymes said the project will create 50-100 local jobs.

It’s not only good for Blair, though. Novozymes said the move is good for business.

According to the company, “consumers are embracing plant-based products, including plant-based meat, which in 2020 was the fastest-growing retail category in the U.S. at 46% growth.”

Novozymes said market estimates predict global plant-based meat could reach 2-5% of total meat consumption volume by 2025.

“At a time of accelerating demand across the protein space, Novozymes can unlock significant value by building on decades of experience with fermented catalytic proteins. Being a biotech powerhouse allows us to produce high-quality, novel ingredients for our customers, efficiently and sustainably,” said Novozymes CEO Ester Baiget. “Realizing the importance of rethinking how we meet an increasing demand for sustainable proteins, Novozymes is executing on its commitment to the strategic opportunity area Advanced Protein Solutions by investing DKK 2 billion in one of the fastest-growing segments of the food industry. Together with our customers, we look forward to making a meaningful impact towards feeding the world sustainably.”

That sustainability piece is something Hansen applauds.

“The neat thing about it, it’s environmentally friendly,” he said.

Hansen also believes these sorts of investments mean the future for Blair is bright.

“It’s a good thing for the prosperity of Blair. It’s very good,” he said.

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