Quorn Foods is making Brexit contingency plans as it opens a new facility to keep up with rising demand for alternatives to meat.
Chief executive Kevin Brennan told the Press Association the company is ensuring it has access to raw materials should there be any supply chain disruption once the UK leave the EU.
“We’re having to make sure we’ve got a healthy stock of key essential materials in the UK,” he said.
But he added that it was not a “major operation”, as the group is not heavily reliant on EU-made products.
His comments come as Quorn opened a new site on Thursday in Billingham, in the North East, which will double its capacity.
The factory is part of a £150 million investment and will create 32 permanent jobs, as well as providing employment for around 150 construction workers as the site expands.
It will produce 1.33 million packs of Quorn products per week.
Mr Brennan said the new facility marked a commitment to manufacturing in the UK for at least the next five years.
The company plans to become a one billion US dollar business by 2027, as the market for meat-free food alternatives expands.
“There’s a generational shift around meat consumption,” Mr Brennan said.
“We’re seeing the attitudes of younger consumers – and that’s not just 18-year-olds, that’s 40 downwards – starting to realise they need to eat less meat and clearly that is a long term trend.”
Quorn is world leader in the sector, notching up growth of 16% last year.
Opening the facility, Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Huge household-name businesses are thriving in this region. Quorn Foods’ products are sold around the world, making it an important part of our export economy.
“It is just one example of how our skills base will help businesses and with them, our region, succeed in an outward-looking post-Brexit world.”