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Plant Protein Goes Mainstream for Canadian Meat Giant

Plant Protein Goes Mainstream for Canadian Meat Giant

  • Company bets on meat alternative to bolster core growth
  • Maple Leaf builds biggest North America plant-protein facility
Maple Leaf Foods meat products

Maple Leaf Foods meat products

Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
Maple Leaf Foods meat products
Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Plant protein is no longer on the periphery for Canadian meat giant Maple Leaf Food Inc.

The Mississauga, Ontario-based company is building a $310 million facility in Shelbyville, Indiana, that’s expected to double its alternative-meat production capacity. On Thursday, it warned of a potential hit to margins from “new and aggressive” goals when it comes to plant-based protein.

“Our view of the plant-based protein business has pivoted from a diversification strategy to a core and exciting growth platform that can literally transform this company over the next decade,” Chief Executive Officer Michael McCain said on a conference call with analysts.

Read More: Pea-Protein Craze Lures Second Processing Plant to Manitoba

The “game has radically changed,” with new entrants using a a fast-paced, technology-based playbook, he said. Beyond Meat Inc., emerged as this year’s darling in the IPO market, with UBS Group AG predicting the plant-protein market to reach $85 billion by 2030 from $4.6 billion now as part of technological revolution in agriculture.

Maple Leaf acquired Lightlife Foods in 2017 and later created a plant-based subsidiary, Greenleaf Foods SPC.

Meat and Greet

— With assistance by Deena Shanker