After decades of offering traditional deli fare, Canada’s largest packaged meat company is now stocking shelves with plant-based imitators like vegan bacon and veggie hot dogs.
Lightlife Foods, acquired by Mississauga-based Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in 2017, is rolling out nine of its top-selling plant-based protein alternatives to Canadian retail stores in August as part of its push to become a dominant player in the fast-growing space. Massachusetts-based Lightlife is already seeing “significant” double-digit growth in the U.S. and expects the segment will provide long-term growth in Canada, where it sees “tremendous opportunity,” said Dan Curtin, the company’s president.
Maple Leaf acquired Lightlife for $140 million and Seattle-based Field Roast, which makes grain-based meat and vegan cheese products, for $120 million.
Global sales of plant-based meats are projected to soar 39 percent to $3.1 billion by 2022, compared with 20 percent for conventional meats, according to a December report from Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Diana Rosero-Pena and Kenneth Shea, who cited Euromonitor data. Substitute-meat sales increased an average of 9 percent a year since 2012, three times the rate of the processed-meat market, according to the report. Still, the segment represents less than 2 percent of the industry.