USA – Cargill has invested US$20 million to expand its Big Lake, Minnesota egg processing facility in a bid to meet increasing customer and consumer demand for a greater variety of cooked egg products.

The Big Lake expansion includes capabilities to pasteurize, mix and cook a number of additional egg products for foodservice and protein ingredient customers.

Employment at the plant is expected to increase by approximately 16%, adding a dozen new positions to support the growth.

The expansions will also double the facility’s annual requirement for eggs from family farms in the area to 170 million.

“We continue to invest in the traditional protein space to provide our foodservice and food ingredient customers innovative, high-quality cooked egg products to meet growing consumer demand,” said Jared Johnson, Big Lake plant general manager.

“This investment underscores our on-going commitment to the Big Lake community and our employees, egg suppliers and restaurant and foodservice customers throughout the upper Midwest.”

The Big Lake expansion is part of nearly US$900 million of investments Cargill has made in the past two years to grow its traditional protein business in North America.

At egg production facilities, this included a 2016 investment of US$27 million in Lake Odessa, Mich., and a US$12 million expansion in Mason City, Iowa, in 2017.

“Economies are improving. More people are moving into the middle class and the world population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050.

These factors are driving significantly increased demand for animal protein around the world,” said Johnson.

“Cargill’s protein team is prepared to play a critical role in meeting this demand and nourish the world with sustainable, high quality protein.”

Construction begins in May, with the new capabilities expected to become operational in January 2019.