Maple Leaf Foods, according to Wikipedia, is a Canadian consumer packaged meats company with headquarters in Toronto. Maple Leaf Foods has had an interesting growth trajectory over the decades. You can read more in this Wikipedia article.
Suffice it to say, Maple Leaf Foods is NOT a vegan company, I would go so far as to say that it is antithetical to veganism. They own or have owned slaughterhouses, hog and poultry farms and of course packaged meat products. A large portion of their business relies on the violence, pain and suffering, death and dismemberment of animals.
So, I hear you asking yourself, why is this 27 year long vegan not up in arms about a vegan company, Field Roast, selling out as some have said?
I’ll tell you why. Field Roast was bought for $120 million dollars (not sure if USD or CAD). I’m not sure many, if any, vegan companies could swallow up a competitor with that kind of money. The vegan industry is still in the fledgling stage IMHO.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d love the world to become vegan, and I’m optimistic enough to believe that it will be in time. But that time is still a little ways away. So, how do we get vegan products out into the mainstream? You have to work hard and hustle, or you make arrangements with other big players to get your products into wider availability. This is what Field Roast has done.
Listen, in this interim period as we’re building the foundation for a vegan world, it can sometimes be helpful to use the pull and reach of large conglomerates. And so long as more people can buy more vegan products, then the world becomes more vegan quicker.
I’m still going to buy and use Field Roast products. Maple Leaf Foods incidentally also recently bought Lightlife Foods, another vegetarian products producer, for $140 million dollars.
I prefer to see the glass half full, and to me, this suggests that Maple Leaf Foods realizes that the future of growth in the packaged food business is vegan or plant based products.
Sure, we can split hairs here. Field Roast is not necessarily a vegan company in that they’re owned by a large conglomerate. But the CEO of Field Roast has mandated that the Field Roast division remain a vegan company. Here is what he had to say:
The [Vegan] policy [Affirmation] consists of nine points that Maple Leaf to which [sic] must adhere… products must remain vegan… animal-derived foods cannot be cooked in Field Roast break rooms, that its company-sponsored food functions remain vegan…
It’s a comprehensive vegan policy and I like it. Listen, in a perfect world we could sell our vegan enterprises to other, larger vegan companies. But a perfect world would be vegan in any event, wouldn’t it?
So, in the interim let’s keep moving veganism forward, and part of that is by being an example of veganism that is centered in compassion and non-violence and respect. If we’re flying off the handle every time a company “sells out”, we’re not helping the animals, each other or humanity in general.
The world will be vegan, we just have to keep working at it. Stay vegan and support vegan companies and vegan products regardless of which parent company makes them. If you can, and if you want. That’s what I’m trying to do.
I’m with you Field Roast, just keep making great vegan products, and who knows, maybe Maple Leaf Foods will become the first large vegan company ever as they see the benefits of vegan products for their customers, themselves and the greater planetary good.
Now pass the Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage for all that’s holy and vegan 😉