Improved Nature, LLC plans invest $3 million in a facility in Garner to produce proprietary vegetable-based meat-substitute products.
The manufacturing facility, which will be located at 101 Vandora Springs Road, is expected to bring in about 165 jobs to the town by 2018, with an average annual salary of $50,000. The planning commission approved a site plan for the facility Monday night. However, it will not be official until the Garner Town Council approves it, which is expected to happen at next month’s meeting.
Improved Nature produces various types of meat replacement products that emulate the texture, flavor and sensory experience of meat, while maintaining a clean label. The company’s meat alternatives are all plant-based. According to Improved Nature’s website, it creates meat alternatives in an effort to have a positive effect on the environment and health.
“This process is truly innovative and will be a dynamic addition to the food market,” Rody Hawkins, president and CEO of Improved Nature, said. “We are very excited to be locating in the Garner area, as many of the company founders have strong ties to Garner and North Carolina. We would like to thank the Town of Garner for all its assistance in helping to make this location possible.”
There are currently seven employees in the company.
The startup, which was founded in 2015, would begin production later this year and would at first bring 15 jobs to Garner. The company plans to expand into a larger facility by 2017 or 2018 to bring an additional 150 jobs to the area.
“A lot of the founding partners have ties to the Raleigh area and we decided it would be good to bring something here,” Hawkins said. “We’ve worked all over the world and we liked Raleigh.”
Garner Economic Development Director Joe Stallings said the project is an example of how government and private enterprise can work together “to spur investment and create jobs.”
“Having local entrepreneurs taking on a venture such as this in Garner speaks well to the pro-business environment that our town has sought to foster,” Stallings said. “We are honored to have Improved Nature locate here and look forward to them becoming a member of our business community.”