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Maple Leaf Foods Acquires US Meat Alternative Firm

February 22, 2017
A hotdog made with plant-based protein. Image courtesy of Lifelight Foods
A hotdog made with plant-based protein. Image courtesy of Lifelight Foods

Canadian packaged meats company Maple Leaf Foods is venturing into the meat alternative market with the announcement of plans to purchase the U.S.-based plant-based protein product maker Lightlife Foods from its owner Brynwood Partners VI L.P. for $140 million, a company press release issued Tuesday said.

“Expanding into the fast-growing plant-based protein is one of Maple Leaf’s strategic growth platforms and supports our commitment to become a leader in sustainability,” said Maple Leaf’s president and chief executive officer Michael McCain in a statement. “Consumers are increasingly looking to diversify their protein consumption, including plant-based options.”

Founded in 1979 in Turners Falls, MA, Lightlife produces more than 30 plant-based protein products from Deli-style slices to faux bacon and breakfast sausage. The company’s 2016 sales totaled $40 million, according to Maple Leaf’s press release, and occupies a 38% share in the U.S. market for refrigerated plant proteins.

“The acquisition of Lightlife provides Maple Leaf with a leading market position and brand in the United States in a category that is outpacing growth in the broader packaged foods sector,” said McCain. “We will expand our presence through investment in brand building, innovation, and leveraging our respective capabilities.”

Lifelight’s management will remain on board in a leadership role, operating as a Maple Leaf subsidiary.

“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,” said Roy Lubetkin, president and chief executive officer of Lifelight Foods in the release.

Maple Leaf said the deal should be concluded by March 2017.

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