At the end of November it was announced that the Canadian meat processing company Maple Leaf Foods was to purchase the vegan food company Field Roast by the end of 2017 for $120million. It is the second meat-free brand that they have purchased this year, following the acquisition of vegetarian and vegan company Lightlife back in February with a closing sum of $140million.
Maple Leaf Foods CEO and President Michael McCain spoke of this saying: “The acquisition of Field Roast complements and expands our portfolio in the fast-growing North American market for alternative proteins.”
McCain also stated: “It also aligns with our vision to be a leader in sustainable protein and create shared value through making a positive social impact. Field Roast has built brand leadership through focusing on quality, craftsmanship and taste, and its acquisition will allow Maple Leaf to fuel growth in the category through investment, brand building and innovation.”
The investment from large corporations such as Maple Leaf Foods could mean that the vegan market expands further, however the ethical issues of companies known for exploiting animals for profit sits heavy with conscientious shoppers, now made to feel uneasy.
Other notable investments from big meat producers include the controversial 5 per cent stake that Tyson Foods have in meat-free company Beyond Meat, and the acquisition of vegan cheese company Daiya by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, who test on animals.
In light of this, many are hoping that as the vegan movement continues to grow, the ethics of these brands may have an impact on their parent companies. Field Roast CEO David Lee commented on the takeover saying: “One thing is or certain — we are as committed as ever to the vegan movement, keeping our products vegan, and creating a more beautiful and peaceful world to live in.”