Beyond Meat, a producer of plant-based meat substitute products, is expanding operations at its El Segundo headquarters, the company announced.

The company will add 26,000 square feet to its existing campus, increasing research and development capabilities. The new facility will house its Manhattan Beach Project - the company’s initiative to develop innovative plant-based products, the company said.

“The expansion of the Manhattan Beach Project here in Los Angeles reflects our belief that building meat from plants is an opportunity of global importance, one that is deserving of investment levels consistent with what you’d find in alternative energy or health sciences, sectors with which we certainly share common goals,” Ethan Brown, chief executive said in a statement.

Founded in 2009, Beyond Meat has raised a total of $72 million according to Crunchbase, a crowd sourced database that tracks startups.

Investors include Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates, actor Leonardo DiCaprio, Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, and former McDonald's Corp. Chief Executive Don Thompson, among others.

Manufacturing and trade reporter Shwanika Narayan can be reached at snarayan@labusinessjournal.com or 323-556-8351. Follow her on Twitter @shwanika.