Lightlife Foods
Lightlife has 38% market share in the U.S. refrigerated plant-based protein foods category.

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. — Maple Leaf Foods has signed a definitive agreement to acquire plant-based protein brand Lightlife Foods, Inc. from Brynwood Partners VI L.P. for $140 million and related costs. The transaction is expected to close in March, subject to customary U.S. regulatory review.

With approximately $40 million in sales in 2016, Lightlife has 38% market share in the U.S. refrigerated plant-based protein foods category and manufactures more than 30 products, including plant-based tempeh, hot dogs, breakfast foods and burgers, at its facility in Turner Falls, Mass. The deal strengthens Maple Leaf Foods’ position in the $600 million U.S. plant-based protein market.

Michael McCain, Maple Leaf Foods
Michael McCain, president and c.e.o. of Maple Leaf Foods

“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,” said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer of Maple Leaf Foods. “Consumers are increasingly looking to diversify their protein consumption, including plant-based options. 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 will expand our presence through investment in brand building, innovation and leveraging our respective capabilities.”

Maple Leaf Foods produces packaged meats under such brands as Maple Leaf, Maple Leaf Prime, Maple Leaf Natural Selections, Schneiders, Schneiders Country Naturals, Mina and Devour. The company said the acquisition of Lightlife Foods reflects its commitment to environmental sustainability, animal welfare, food security, nutrition and health.

Maple Leaf Foods
Maple Leaf Foods produces packaged meats.

Headquartered in Braintree, Mass., Lightlife was founded in 1979 and employs approximately 100 people. Brynwood VI acquired the brand from ConAgra Foods in 2013. Since then, the company has significantly expanded its sales, production and profitability, according to Brynwood Partners. 

“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,” said Roy Lubetkin, president and c.e.o. of Lightlife Foods. “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.”

Maple Leaf Foods’ expansion into plant-based protein underscores the segment’s significant growth in recent years. In a similar move late last year, Tyson Foods acquired a 5% stake in Beyond Meat, a manufacturer of meat-free burgers, strips, crumbles and single-serve meals.