Maple Leaf buys vegetable-meat manufacturer

Maple Leaf Foods is buying a U.S.-based manufacturer of plant-based protein foods for US$140 million and related costs.

Lightlife Foods, which is owned by Brynwood Partners VI L.P., makes 30 products, including plant-based tempeh, hot dogs, breakfast food and burgers.

The deal, financed from cash on hand, is expected to close in March subject to customary U.S. regulatory review.

“Expanding into the fast growing plant-based proteins market is one of Maple Leaf’s strategic growth platforms and supports our commitment to become a leader in sustainability,” Maple Leaf president Michael McCain said in a news release.

“Consumers are increasingly looking to diversify their protein consumption, including plant-based options.”

Lightlife employs about 100 people at its facility in Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Company management will continue to lead the business, which will operate as a subsidiary of Maple Leaf.

The U.S. market for plant-based proteins is estimated at $600 million with the refrigerated category representing more than $110 million and delivering double-digit annual growth.

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