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Above Food, a Canadian plant-based protein company, will acquire Atlantic Natural Foods, the owner of the shelf-stable vegan brand Loma Linda and Tuno. The pending purchase will elevate Above to become the first producer of shelf-stable plant-based foods with complete vertical integration in the supply chain, from field to product.
Above Food, a Canadian B2B provider of plant-based proteins, has announced the planned acquisition of Atlantic Natural Foods (ANF). ANF owns the shelf-stable vegan brands Loma Linda, which produces a range of canned meat analogues and plant-based ready meals, as well as the fish-free canned tuna brand Tuno.
The acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, will see ANF join Above’s portfolio of plant-based brands, which includes ready-to-mix egg alternative Neat, and vegan meat and ingredients brand Eat Up!. The financial details of the transaction remain undisclosed.
Atlantic Natural Foods to continue global expansion
According to Above, the acquisition is “designed to help ANF continue to expand its global reach.” At present, ANF is sold in around 30 countries in the US and UK, EU, South Africa and Australia, with 25,000 point-of-sales.
Above has a complete supply chain of plant-based proteins such as chickpeas, oats, fava beans and lentils, as well as infrastructure in agricultural processing. The business combination of ANF will make Above the “first shelf-stable producer of plant-based foods with total vertical integration.”
ANF products will also benefit from increased economies of scale, which will further lower costs of production and ultimately prices for consumers.
Bringing affordable shelf-stable vegan food to the masses
Speaking more about the acquisition deal, ANF founder J. Douglas Hines said that he believed Above’s leadership had the same “shared, common goals” to “leading change in the world’s food supply”.
Hines continued on to share that the partnership with Above will see the setting up of a new joint innovation group, which will be led by Kelly Krause as CIO to further broaden its range of shelf-stable and accessible plant-based offerings.
Martin WIlliams, president and CIO at Above, says that the mission is to “create the most sustainable, nutritious and affordable plant-based foods”.
While the entire vegan food category has seen a huge demand surge, with sales in the US alone doubling to $7 billion in 2020, many brands and investors see the shelf-stable category as a major pillar of growth ahead.
To appeal to consumers who are increasingly looking for convenient plant-based offerings, many new plant-based brands are now focused on shelf-stable products, among them pea protein crumble brand Longeve and Australian startup Deliciou, which offers ready-to-mix vegan pork, beef and chicken made from wheat, pea and mung bean protein.
The newest to enter is Plant Boss, which claims to be the first organic and shelf-stable vegan meat brand and has been launched by Frontier Co-op, the wholesaler behind the Simply Organic label of spices and ingredients.
All images courtesy of Atlantic Natural Foods.