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Another big meat processor invests in plant-based proteins

I find this to be an interesting concept for the protein based companies.  I originally found the article on MeatingPlace.

Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods announced it has signed a definitive agreement with Brynwood Partners VI L.P. to acquire Lightlife Foods, a leading manufacturer and brand of refrigerated plant-based protein foods in the United States, for $140 million (U.S. dollars) and related costs.

The move comes just months after Tyson Foods took a 5 percent ownership stake in plant-based protein producer Beyond Meat in October and in December launched a venture capital fund focused on investing in alternative proteins.

Maple Leaf will finance the transaction from cash on hand. The deal will 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," said Michael McCain, President and CEO. "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."

Lightlife reported 2016 sales of approximately $40 million and has 38 percent market share in the U.S. refrigerated plant proteins market. The company employs approximately 100 people at its facility in Turners Falls, Mass., where it manufactures more than 30 products, including plant-based tempeh, hot dogs, breakfast foods and burgers.

Lightlife 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 over $110 million and delivering double-digit annual growth, according to the company.

Maple Leaf Foods is a leading consumer protein company, making products under national brands including Maple Leaf, Maple Leaf Prime, Maple Leaf Natural Selections, Schneiders, Schneiders Country Naturals, Mina, and Devour. The company employs approximately 11,000 people across Canada and exports to global markets. The company is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario.

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