MINNEAPOLIS – Both Oatly and SunOpta, Inc. are planning to build processing plants that will help the companies meet consumer demand for alternative milks. Interestingly, both plants will be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

In Fort Worth, Oatly is planning to build a plant that will process approximately 40 million gallons of oat milk per year. The 280,000-square-foot plant will employ approximately 100 and will be completed in 2023, according to the company.

“Every time someone decides to take their coffee with oat milk or have an Oatgurt for their afternoon snack, we believe they’re making a choice that’s healthier for them and the planet,” said Mike Messersmith, president of North America at Oatly. “And more and more people are making those choices every day. We’re excited to break ground on this factory in Fort Worth, which we believe will allow us to meet the growing demand for Oatly’s products and grow our positive impact on the planet.”

The Fort Worth plant will be Oatly’s third in the United States. The company’s two other facilities are in Millville, NJ, and Ogden, NJ.

SunOpta, Inc. also is in the final stages of negotiating a lease for the construction of a “new mega facility” in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, said Joseph D. Ennen, chief executive officer. Mr. Ennen made the announcement during SunOpta’s second-quarter earnings call on Aug. 11.

“This greenfield 275,000-square-foot facility is by far the largest (capital expenditure) project we have ever undertaken,” Mr. Ennen said. “With this new plant, we will have facilities in the east, the west, the Midwest and now the south, allowing us to offer very competitive costs and improved environmental footprint and redundant manufacturing capabilities to lower risk for our customers. The added scale will improve our margin profile over time as we expect to realize further supply chain savings by having a more efficient national network.”

Mr. Ennen added that once online the new plant will allow SunOpta to double the size of its plant-based business. For the first six months of fiscal 2021, ended July 3, SunOpta’s Plant-Based Foods and Beverages business unit had sales of $231 million.

“This facility is really an unlock for growth in 2023 and beyond,” Mr. Ennen said.

Plant-based milks had US sales of $2.5 billion in 2020, according to data from the market researcher SPINS, 20% higher than in 2019.