QUORN Foods has announced a £150m investment in its Billingham facility, which will create hundreds of local jobs over the next five years.

The company, whose headquarters are in Stokesley and which has manufacturing facilities in North Yorkshire and Teesside, made the commitment after achieving 19 per cent growth during the first half of 2017 – 15 per cent of which was in the UK.

Quorn Foods expects to become a billion dollar brand by 2027 and the new investment will be key to achieving that goal.

The investment will cover the expansion of the company’s main manufacturing facility at Billingham, making it the largest facility of its kind in the world.

The development will create hundreds of jobs in construction, operating the new facilities and providing key support services to the site.

Quorn Foods also recently invested £2m in a new CHP plant, in partnership with Veolia, which resulted in CO2 savings of 2,000 tonnes a year.

Kevin Brennan, chief executive, said: “We are proud to be contributing to the UK’s export drive and to be investing in a British innovation that is vital to addressing the future need for protein across a growing global population.

“Our growth will continue as expected, regardless of the Brexit deal that is reached. In fact, today’s investment is indicative of our confidence in becoming a billion dollar brand in the next ten years.”

Growth has been strong in the EU, where Quorn Foods continues to invest. The company has, however, driven aggressively outside the EU. The US business is up 40 per cent, Australia 35 per cent and Asia, a new market, is also succeeding.

The company says its billion dollar potential is rooted in a move by people looking to reduce their consumption of meat by switching to alternative sources of protein for health or environmental reasons.

Quorn uses Mycoprotein, which is low in saturated fat and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Quorn mince is said to contain 90 per cent less saturated fat than a meat spaghetti bolognese and 90 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions than beef.

Quorn was launched in 1985 by Marlow Foods and is owned by Monde Nissan Corporation. The company employees 650 people and exports to 15 countries around the world, including the USA, South Africa, Australia, Holland and Switzerland.