Yesterday, Lightlife Foods published an open letter to plant-based meat companies Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods—via a full-page ad in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal—commenting on both brands’ product ingredients as part of its “clean break” campaign. Signed by Lightlife Foods President Dan Curtin, the company’s letter states it has had “enough” of “the hyper-processed ingredients, GMOs, unnecessary additives and fillers, and fake blood” and that it is “making a clean break from both … ‘food tech’ companies that attempt to mimic meat at any cost.” The letter continues with Lightlife ultimately differentiating itself as a “real food company” despite using similar ingredients, as pointed out by social media users.
In response to the ad, Beyond Meat spoke with Vegconomist stating, “If Lightlife were clear on our ingredients, they would see that our food is made from simple, plant-based ingredients. With no GMOs. No synthetic additives. No carcinogens. No hormones. No antibiotics. No cholesterol. Our foods are designed to have the same taste and texture as animal-based meat, giving more consumers more options that are better for them and the planet.”
Similarly, Impossible Foods published their direct response to Lightlife Foods via online publishing platform Medium. In its statement, penned by Director of Communications Keely Sulprizio and Chief Communications Officer Rachel Konrad, the company asserted they were targeted in a “disingenuous, desperate disinformation campaign attempting to cast doubt on the integrity of [its] products.”
In reference to Maple Leaf Foods, the Canadian meat giant that acquired Lightlife Foods in 2017, Impossible Foods stated, “[This] campaign leans on spurious arguments typically used by the meat industry: [an] attack on Impossible’s products not based on their indisputable quality, nutrition, wholesomeness or deliciousness, but based on the number of ingredients—a logic-defying concept with zero relevance to health or product quality, intended to distract consumers from the inferiority of Lightlife and Maple Leaf’s products.” The statement continues, with Impossible Foods asserting that it “uses science, in collaboration with nature, to make uncompromisingly delicious, wholesome meat from plants.”
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods continue to dominate the plant-based meat sector, as consumers show increased interest in plant-based meat due to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a 90-percent increase in vegan food sales. Currently, Impossible Foods is sold in over 8,000 stores nationwide due to its recent launch in Walmart and Kroger locations, and Beyond Meat reaches approximately 112,000 grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and more.