Lightlife launches a new plant-based burger

The Maple Leaf-owned brand is looking to serve existing demand and bring meat alternatives to a wider audience.

Lightlife Foods Prepared Burger

Maple Leaf Foods’ plant-based brand Lightlife has announced a number of new products meant to serve the growing demand for alternatives to meat-based proteins, complete with a brand redesign and greater availability within the Canadian market.

The Lightlife Burger is made up of pea protein, and has zero cholesterol and much less saturated fat than similar pattys made from traditional beef. The burger also contains virgin coconut oil, and beet powder, formulated to created “a juicy and meaty burger” that is “made to grill,” according to the company.

Lightlife Foods Product BoxesThe burger product will be launched in the U.S. in March and Canada in April, with other products in the line following soon after, comprised of Lightlife Ground (an imitation of ground beef), Bratwurst Sausage and Italian Sausage.

The product launches have also come with a full redesign of the 40-year-old brand’s visual identity and packaging, part of an effort to bring the brand to an expanded audience.

Michael Lenahan, VP of marketing for Lightlife Foods says the core line is meant to attract new consumers to the 40-year-old brand, as well as offer more options for existing Lightlife customers. “The new branding is more vibrant and contemporary while staying true to our rich heritage in natural foods, reflecting the category’s growing consumer base.”

In October, Maple Leaf launched Greenleaf Foods, a new subsidiary comprising of plant-based brands Lightlife and Field Roast. Maple Leaf acquired Lightlife in 2017, followed by Field Roast in early 2018, with plans to further build its portfolio of plant-based brands and products. The move is part of Maple Leaf’s plans to go beyond simply being one of the oldest and most recognizable meat brands in Canada to becoming “the most sustainable protein company on earth.” That plan has also included initiatives related to food waste, energy use and food security, as well as a broader “real food manifesto” that has been about bringing more transparency to the ingredients in its meat-based products.

Maple Leaf’s real food manifesto was met with one of the company’s largest campaigns in years. Similarly, Lenahan added that the new product launch would come alongside “the biggest campaign” Lightlife has ever run.

Lightlife Foods Veggie-Burger PackThe announcement also signals an increase in Maple Leaf’s plant-based offering within the Canadian market, as both Lightlife and Field Roast’s consumer base has largely been in the U.S.

Multiple brands have taken steps to serve consumer tastes that are shifting towards more plant-based diets (something also reflected in the new Canada’s Food Guide), and recent events in the burger category have proven that demand. Last year, QSR chain A&W announced it would be adding the Beyond Meat burger – which had gained significant hype in the U.S. – to its menu. A partnership with a national QSR chain greatly increased Beyond Meat’s availability in the Canadian market – having previously only been available at some smaller restaurant chains and specialty grocers – with the burger selling out for weeks following the launch in A&W stores.