Multinational joint venture PlantPlus Foods, created by two food processing giants ADM and Marfrig in 2020, has officially closed the CA$125 million [approximately $100 million] deal with Canadian vegan food manufacturer Sol Cuisine — about two months after it purchased Drink Eat Well LLC., the producer of Hilary’s allergen-friendly plant-based products.
The two acquisitions together are expected to accelerate PlantPlus Foods’ ambition to gain a “strong foothold” across Americas, according to the company’s CEO John Pinto, who has over two decades of CPG executive experience working at Coca-Cola
“We were born as a multinational company, and we want to expand aggressively,” Pinto recently told me during a Zoom interview, noting how Marfrig’s operations and network in South America’s meat analogue sector will help bring Sol Cuisine to the local market as well.
Sol Cuisine’s revenue has reached $4.5 million by Q3 2021, according to PitchBook data, and has increased by 55.88% year-over-year during the prior quarter.
Sol Cuisine started in 1980 as a premium tofu supplier to vegetarian restaurants in Toronto, and has since evolved to become a major alt protein player also producing non-GMO plant-based burgers and entrée appetizers. Founder and president, Dror Balshine, believes their acquisition by PlantPlus Foods will help the company continue to deliver positive impact on both human and planetary health.
“Our new partnership with Plant Plus Foods means Sol Cuisine will have the strategic resources to further grow our community of ‘Sol Mates’ and continue to innovate while expanding our culinary focused product offerings,” Balshine said in a statement. “Those strategic resources include best-in-class ingredients, operational support, and research and development.”
Chairman of the board at Sol Cuisine, Mike Fata, who founded and sold Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods and has been a strategic CPG advisor and investor, also believes the deal will help accelerate the overall plant-based foods market that could exceed $162 billion in value within the next decade, according to a recent Bloomberg Intelligence report.
Fata wrote me via email: “It is truly rewarding to see the hard work and efforts of our team being realized through this new partnership. I believe the world is ready for more plant-based proteins, and Sol Cuisine is well positioned to deliver.”
Industry Enabler & Future M&A
While R&D for Sol Cuisines’ new products is underway, PlantPlus Foods also continues to explore new investment opportunities that are complementary to its current portfolio, especially those that can help its brands expand geographic reach. The goal is to eventually create more vertically integrated, end-to-end capabilities, according to Pinto.
“Our competitive advantages include our ability to source raw materials from ADM and innovate products all the way through Marfrig that provides finished goods solutions and commercialization,” he said, yet noting how PlantPlus Foods aims to become an industry enabler instead of a competitor in the alt protein space.
“We see the potential of our aggregated portfolio [to offer] plant-forward solutions,” Pinto said. “The breadth of this portfolio will bring significant edge to the market.”
“We’ll continue evaluating options,” he added, “and we will remain open for opportunities.”
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