Canadian meat giant Maple Leaf enters alternative protein partnership with The Better Meat Company

USA – Maple Leaf Foods, a Canada-headquartered packaged meat producer, has joined forces with food technology startup, The Better Meat company, to explore alternative-protein innovation.

The deal was signed through Maple Leaf’s subsidiary Greenleaf Foods which owns leading plant-based protein food brands, Lightlife and Field Roast.

Under the agreement, two companies will work to explore new alternative protein innovations using Better Meat Co.’s Rhiza mycoprotein ingredient.

The Better Meat Co. produces the Rhiza mycoprotein, a sustainable whole food ingredient naturally meat-textured and said to contain more meat protein than eggs and more iron than meat, via fermentation.

The company aims to leverage Greenleaf Foods’ extensive expertise in the protein field to help them build an even more sustainable protein industry, according to the Chief Executive Vice President of operations, Doni Curkendall.

The Chief R&D and Food Technology Officer at Greenleaf said: “We are looking forward to working with The Better Meat Co. as we continue exploring alternative protein ingredients to allow us to further diversify our portfolio of delicious, sustainably produced plant-based food.”

Better Meat Co. recently raised US$9.9 million in funding to expand its fermentation and manufacturing capabilities to meet demand for Rhiza is currently more than the supply and they are therefore working on the expansion of its fermentation and manufacturing capabilities.

This is the second development agreement Better Meat has entered into with a large traditional meat manufacturer.

In late 2021, the company entered into an exclusive deal with Hormel Foods, a US meat product manufacturer, through their venture arm, to develop new meat alternative products and bring them to market.

Maple leaf, on the other hand, is in the midst of a series of changes to its plant-based business after assessing its growth prospects in the North American market.

The company reviewed their meat-free brands after a third quarter of declining sales and announced plans to adjust its investment policy for its plant-based meat business to align with this drop-off in sales.

Consequently, Maple Foods has made moves to “right-size” the unit’s manufacturing network and reviewed its revenue management. The plans are to reduce Greenleaf’s division by 25%.

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