Canadian meat giant Maple Leaf debuts its new plant-based burger

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Maple Leaf Foods has high expectations for its new plant-based burger.Robyn Beck/AFP

Watch out, Impossible. Beware, Beyond. A new competitor is entering the plant-based burger market.

Lightlife Foods, the brand behind Gimme Lean meatless “beef,” Tofu Pups hot dogs, Organic Fakin’ Bacon Tempeh Strips and other vegetarian staples, is joining the looks-like, cooks-like, smells-like, tastes-like-the-real-thing veggie burger fray. The new patties are expected to reach food service clients in February and will begin shipping to U.S. and Canadian retailers by the end of March, the company said.

Like its well-publicized competitors, the new burger is meant to be more like beef than its hockey puck-esque forebears. Unlike Impossible Foods Inc. and Beyond Meat Inc., which mostly rely on venture capital, Lightlife has the resources of a giant meat producer to help sell it. In 2017 the brand became a fully owned subsidiary of Maple Leaf Foods Inc., the US$2.6-billion Canadian meat conglomerate, which later placed Lightlife under the control of a newly created plant-based division, Greenleaf Foods SPC.

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