Mississauga, Ont. – Maple Leaf Foods has entered a new market: that of plant-based protein foods.
Canada’s leading consumer meat protein company has acquired U.S.-based Lightlife Foods Inc., a manufacturer of refrigerated plant-based protein foods for US$140 million. The deal is set to close in March.
Maple Leaf says the move is a way to get into a fast-growing category and it’s part of the company’s strategic growth plan. The acquisition is also in keeping with Maple Leaf’s commitment to sustainability, says Michael McCain, the company’s president and CEO.
“Consumers are increasingly looking to diversify their protein consumption, including plant-based options,” says McCain.
“The acquisition of Lightlife provides Maple Leaf with a leading market position and brand in the U.S. in a category that is outpacing growth in the broader packaged foods sector. We will expand our presence through investment in brand building, innovation and leveraging our respective capabilities.”
Lightlife reported 2016 sales of approximately US$40 million and has 38 per cent market share in the U.S. refrigerated plant proteins market.
The company employs approximately 100 people at its facility in Turners Falls, Mass., where it manufactures more than 30 innovative products, including plant-based tempeh, hot dogs, breakfast foods and burgers.
Lightlife management will continue to lead the business, which will operate as a subsidiary of Maple Leaf.
“We at Lightlife are truly excited about today’s announcement which will allow us to accelerate our growth and broaden our reach in the fast growing plant-based protein market. Maple Leaf Foods has an industry leading commitment to sustainable protein, including a strategic focus on plant proteins, and being part of this incredible organization will enable the continued growth of our brands,” says Roy Lubetkin, president and CEO of Lightlife Foods.