Canada-based Maple Leaf Foods signed a definitive agreement with Brynwood Partners VI L.P., Greenwich, Conn., to acquire Lightlife Foods, Inc., a manufacturer of refrigerated plant-based protein foods, for $140 million. 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," says Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. "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 maintains 38% 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 innovative 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.

"We at Lightlife are truly excited about today's announcement, which will allow us to accelerate our growth and broaden our reach in the fast growing plant-based protein market. Maple Leaf Foods has an industry leading commitment to sustainable protein, including a strategic focus on plant proteins, and being part of this incredible organization will enable the continued growth of our brands," says Roy Lubetkin, president and CEO, Lightlife Foods.

Brynwood Partners and its then newly formed portfolio company, Lightlife Foods, Inc., acquired Lightlife, a former brand of then ConAgra Foods.