North American company Elian opens a plant in Port of Barcelona to produce 2,500 tons of vegetable protein daily

Business Investments · Food & Beverage

17 May 2024

The company, a subsidiary of the Viserion group, acquired Cargill's soy processing factory and maintained the 65 jobs to adapt part of the plant towards the production of alternative protein based on this vegetable.

Elian, a subsidiary of the North American company Viserion, opened today in the Port of Barcelona the renovation of the soy processing plant it had acquired from the Cargill group last October. This operation concerning the facility, which has a production capacity of 2,500 tons per day, has meant that 65 jobs have been maintained while the factory takes another step in soy processing, positioning itself as a reference in the alternative protein sector in Catalonia. The reopening ceremony of the factory was attended by the Minister for Business and Labour, Roger Torrent, as well as Elian's CEO in Catalonia, Andreu Martín.

Viserion's investment through Elian received support from the Government via Catalonia Trade & Investment, the agency for business competitiveness belonging to the Ministry for Business and Labour.

“The Barcelona plant is a strategic infrastructure for local protein supply for the production of quality food”

Andreu Martín, CEO at Elian Barcelona

According to Torrent, the renewed activity at the production plant "is good news in two ways: for the maintenance of industrial employment and for the reinforcement of a strategic and emerging sector in Catalonia such as alternative protein". Furthermore, the Minister for Business and Labour also emphasized "the plant's commitment to sustainability and water conservation, an essential element in the industry that we promote and desire in Catalonia".

According to Andreu Martín, "the Barcelona plant is a strategic infrastructure for local protein supply for the production of quality food". In this regard, he added that "the integration of the plant into the Elian/Viserion group will allow us to incorporate an experienced team along with an efficient facility with direct access to raw material imports, ensuring the production chain and making complementary investments that significantly contribute to improving food sustainability".

Elian's purchase of the Cargill group's factory has facilitated the retention of jobs at the plant and ensured supply to its customers. With this acquisition, the factory's capabilities will be expanded to include the production of concentrated and textured protein, a key ingredient for making plant-based alternative foods and high-quality feed.

The plant, dedicated to soy processing, is a strategic infrastructure for the feed sector in Catalonia, with production aimed at feed meal for cattle, poultry, or domestic animals. Additionally, the factory also produces soybean oil for use in various sectors, such as food, cosmetics, adhesives, or fuels.

The United States, the country with the most subsidiaries in Catalonia

Elian, the subsidiary of the American company Viserion, is one of the 9,255 foreign companies established in Catalonia. In fact, according to the Directory of Foreign Subsidiaries in Catalonia 2023 (.PDF document), compiled by Catalonia Trade & Investment, the United States is the country with the highest representation among these types of companies, accounting for 15% of the total.

Alternative protein, a growing sector in Catalonia

Elian's factory, located at the Port of Barcelona, is one of the pillars of this emerging sector in Catalonia in alternative protein. This refers to plant-based analogs of meat, milk, fish and seafood substitutes, cell-cultivated meat, and new protein sources such as insects, mushrooms, algae, and microorganisms.

This emerging field on a global scale is also making its mark in Catalonia. According to the report "Alternative Protein in Catalonia", prepared by Catalonia Trade & Investment, there are already 103 companies in this sector generating a turnover of 269 million euros and employing 900 people.

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