Harvey’s adds plant-based Lightlife burger to the menu

The QSR gives customers a second vegan-friendly option by partnering with a brand that has a Canadian connection.

Greenleaf Foods-Lightlife- and Harvey-s Partner to Bring Lightli

Harvey’s has offered Canadians a veggie burger for 20 years, but it’s aiming to further tap into the attention plant-based burgers have been getting by offering patties from Maple Leaf’s Lightlife brand.

Beginning this week, all 292 Harvey’s locations across Canada will offer Lightlife’s plant-based burger on its menu. The new vegan-friendly burger is not replacing Harvey’s existing veggie burger, which it has offered since 1999 (Harvey’s social posts announcing the arrival of Lightlife to the menu emphasizes this point, much to the delight of commenters).

Ken Harrison, director of marketing for Harvey’s Restaurants, says the restaurant is adding a second plant-based burger to its menu to give customers greater access and choice when it comes to healthy options.

While traditional veggie burgers have not meant to taste like meat, Lightlife is among a number of brands – including Beyond Meat and Impossible – that have been using mixtures of different proteins to simulate the look, feel and taste of beef-based patties. But unlike its competition, which have recently faced greater scrutiny on whether they’re actually healthy, Lightlife differentiates itself with a shorter ingredient list and uses no GMOs, soy or gluten, which fits with the “real food manifesto” of parent company Maple Leaf Foods.

Lightlife products launched in Canada last summer after it was acquired by Maple Leaf and the burger began appearing on store shelves this spring. While Lightlife was founded in the U.S., the burger is prepared in the Toronto facility of Greenleaf Foods, Maple Leaf’s plant-based division. Harrison says the connection to Harvey’s Canadian heritage is what made Lightlife stand out from the other plant-based burger options that its QSR competition has been adding to menus, as well as Lightlife’s commitment “to making plant-based eating more accessible and delicious.”

Harvey’s is promoting the arrival of the Lightlife burger with a new TV spot, as well as social and digital posts and a national flyer drop. The brand team is also planning what Harrison describes as a “major earned media push,” followed by an influencer program.

In addition, on Sept. 9, Adam Grogan, current SVP of marketing, innovation, research and development at Maple Leafs Foods, will be moving over to Greenleaf as its chief operating officer, where he will be focused on growing and expanding the Lightlife and Field Roast business. Maple Leaf is currently undertaking a search for Grogan’s successor in the lead marketing role.