MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Maple Leaf Foods completed its acquisition of Lightlife Foods, a leading manufacturer of refrigerated plant-based protein products in the United States. The transaction, valued at $140 million plus costs, was financed with cash on hand, Maple Leaf said.
“Expanding into the fast growing alternative proteins market is one of Maple Leaf’s strategic growth platforms and advances our commitment to become a leader in sustainability,” Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf, said in a statement. “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. We are committed to growing the business through investment in brand building, innovation and leveraging our respective capabilities.”
Lightlife management will continue to lead the business, which will operate as a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods.
Lightlife has approximately 38 percent share in the market for alternative proteins and provides an important growth opportunity for Maple Leaf Foods to establish a presence in the market for plant-based proteins, which has produced double-digit growth. The US market for plant-based proteins is estimated at $600 million, with the refrigerated category representing more than $110 million.
McCain told analysts during an earnings call in February that alternative protein is where Maple Leaf is least developed. He noted that consumers shifting toward balancing consumption of animal proteins with alternative proteins will continue to drive growth in the segment.“We fully expect this will be useful to support Lightlife’s growth as part of our portfolio,” McCain told analysts. “Part of the attraction to Lightlife is its ability to drive growth in the overall category. With such a strong market position and a well-established brand, they are able to support and work with retail customers across North America to bring new innovations of the market, supported by a diverse portfolio of over 30 products. They also have a manufacturing and distribution base that enables this growth.”