Maple Leaf Foods Releases 2023 Integrated Report

Evolved Strategic Blueprint outlines the Company’s core strategies for continued success

MISSISSAUGA, ON – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSX: MFI), released its second annual Integrated Report, building on over a decade of sustainability reporting and bringing together its 2023 financial and sustainability performance into one report.

In his Letter to Stakeholders, Maple Leaf Foods’ President and CEO, Curtis Frank, reflects on his first year as CEO. “Perhaps our proudest accomplishment is that throughout a year of intense transition and disruption, our commitment to creating Shared Value for all our stakeholders has been unwavering,” said Frank. “We worked hard as a team to stabilize the financial performance of our business, realize the benefits of our recent capital investments and put the right plans and people in place to capitalize on the platform we have built for the future.”  

Maple Leaf Foods is recognized as a purpose-driven, globally admired and brand-led CPG company with the vision to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth — an ambition it maintains through the execution of five core strategies outlined in its newly released, evolved Blueprint. The Company’s core strategies are: 

  • Lead the Way: By making better food, taking better care, and nurturing a better planet. 
  • Build Loved Brands: By growing the relevance of its portfolio of leading brands, delivering impactful innovation, and leveraging the unique capabilities of its people.  
  • Broaden Our Impact: By expanding its geographic reach, developing new channels and categories, and diversifying its protein portfolio. 
  • Operate with Excellence: By harnessing advanced technologies, applying data science and analytics, and driving cost efficiency.  
  • Develop Extraordinary Talent: By embedding its values-based culture, investing in future ready leaders, and inspiring enduring engagement.  

Sustainability vision

Maple Leaf Foods’ vision to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth is built on five pillars: Better Food, Better Care for Our People, Better Care for Communities, Better Animal Care, and a Better Planet. The Company tracks progress toward achieving its vision against these pillars, including the goals and milestones set along the way.

Better Food

In 2023, Maple Leaf Foods launched a new Maple Leaf Natural Selections® offering of deli meats with its simplest ingredients ever, proudly containing only premium meat and real, simple and natural ingredients, supporting its ambition to be a leader of the real food movement. The Company is also simplifying and increasing the legibility of its packaging with Maple Leaf-branded products with claims appearing on front of pack which are easier to read.

The Company proudly reports that multiple products within its portfolio ranked #1 in Canada, including: Schneiders® for packaged meats, the Mina Halal® brand in fresh poultry, Greenfield Natural Meat Co.® for sustainable packaged meats, and Maple Leaf Prime® for fresh poultry. Additionally, Maple Leaf® is the #2 brand in packaged meats in Canada, Field RoastTM is the #3 brand in the U.S. for refrigerated plant protein, and Lightlife® is the #1 brand in Tempeh, plant-based hot dogs, and plant-based bacon.

Better Care for Our People

Caring for people, including ensuring their safety and well-being, is a key priority at Maple Leaf Foods. In 2023, the Company completed social compliance audits at its five largest facilities and moved forward with an enhanced social compliance program. The Company announced that it would be launching an independent third-party human rights impact assessment focusing on migrant workers within its workforce. Advancing the Company’s social compliance programs, including conducting social audits and human rights impact assessments, are important elements of advancing social responsibility, compliance and human rights within operations and the supply chain.

In 2023, Maple Leaf Foods achieved a Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 0.40, a 93.6% improvement from its 2012 baseline year, and 32 of its sites had zero recordable injuries. This reflects the Company’s relentless commitment to workplace safety, its Safety Promise, and continuous improvement in safety protocols. In 2023, Maple Leaf Foods had zero fatalities, a trend that has continued for more than a decade.

In line with Maple Leaf Foods’ Diversity and Inclusion Blueprint, the Company also developed new, impactful goals to advance diversity, promote equity, and maintain a steadfast focus on fostering an inclusive culture within the organization.

Better Care for Communities 

For Maple Leaf Foods, enhancing community well-being is a core focus, extending from within the organization to the broader society.

The Maple Leaf Centre for Food Security (“the Centre”) celebrated its seventh anniversary in 2023, having committed more than $12.4 million to 33 initiatives seeking to address underlying drivers of food insecurity that span coast-to-coast-to-coast. The Centre has also advocated for government policies and led awareness-raising campaigns to engage Canadians and drive systemic change. The Centre joined several Canadian foundations to provide funding for Ontario’s Student Nutrition Program and First Nations Student Nutrition Program. Along with funds provided by the Government of Ontario, this effort contributed $5 million towards school food programs across the province.

Maple Leaf Foods employees volunteered their time in more than 40 communities across Canada through the Company’s Raise the Good in the Neighbourhood volunteer program. Employees volunteered with their local food banks, in healthcare institutions and hospitals, for local community centres, with newcomer services, and more, contributing to a greater understanding of the challenges and causes that groups are facing while building connections within communities.

Better Animal Care

Maple Leaf Foods is proud to have completed the transition of its Ontario poultry processing operations to its new, world-class London Poultry facility. As part of this transition, the Company now uses humane controlled atmosphere stunning for all of the poultry it processes. The Company’s poultry processing facilities are now all equipped with modular loading, best-in-class environmentally controlled indoor lairage, and technology that eliminates the need to handle birds before they are rendered insensible.

In 2023, Maple Leaf Foods published a comprehensive Poultry Welfare Approach which has 13 areas of focus to ensure the health and well-being of its chickens at all steps in the poultry supply chain. At the broiler level, areas of focus include environmental enrichments, lighting, stocking density, air and litter management, antibiotic use, breed, and humane euthanasia.

Maple Leaf Foods remains committed to the elimination of gestation stalls for sows, and 100% of the Company’s owned sow spaces meet open sow housing standards in accordance with the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Code of Practice and Canadian Pork Excellence PigCARE program. The Company achieved its leading goal of converting all owned sow spaces (69,850 sow spaces) to its Advanced Open Sow Housing system as of the end of 2021, which now represents 93% of our sow spaces following the Company’s acquisition of additional sow barns.

Maple Leaf Foods is deeply committed to reducing the use of antibiotics in its animals while ensuring animals receive treatment when needed to protect their welfare. In 2023, antibiotic use in the pigs Maple Leaf Foods raises continued trending downward. Since 2014, the Company has reduced antibiotic usage by 99.3% across its owned hog production operations.

Better Planet

In 2015, Maple Leaf Foods set targets to reduce its environmental footprint by 50% by 2025 (2014 baseline), in five key areas: electricity, natural gas, water, solid waste (2015 baseline) and food loss and waste (2016 baseline). The electricity and natural gas targets were considered interim targets on the path towards its science-based targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce the Company’s absolute Scope 1 & 2 emissions by 30% by 2030 (2018 baseline). 

While Maple Leaf Foods has made progress across these areas, the pace of progress has been hampered by a number of factors, including the impact of the global pandemic which delayed a number of initiatives, as well as the timing of ramping up its new facilities and the lag in decommissioning associated legacy plants. The Company recognizes the challenges associated with setting aggressive science-based targets and is committed to transparent updates on its progress towards these sustainability goals.

In 2023, Maple Leaf Foods was a founding member of the Canadian Alliance for Net-Zero Agri-Food (CANZA), a national, industry-led, multi-stakeholder alliance of RBC, Maple Leaf Foods, Nutrien, McCain Foods, Loblaw, BCG and The Natural Step Canada and the Smart Prosperity Institute in collaboration with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. CANZA is committed to driving sustainable outcomes in Canada’s agri-food sector. As an integral driver of the Canadian economy, this sector is also a significant emitter of greenhouse gas. CANZA promotes the adoption of regenerative agriculture and carbon farming practices, offering an opportunity to transform the sector and create a circular, net-zero agri-food supply value. By collaborating with farmers to achieve nature-positive outcomes, the alliance is committed to building a more sustainable future for agriculture.

Maple Leaf Foods partnered with Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs, for the fourth consecutive year to expand regenerative agriculture efforts. Through Nutrien’s carbon program, they support growers, drive sustainability, and boost profitability. This work aligns with the Company’s goal of sourcing sustainable feed by reducing the carbon footprint of purchased crops. Maple Leaf Foods has doubled its investments in regenerative practices year over year for the past three years and has scaled its efforts from 19,000 acres to 160,000 acres.

To learn more about sustainability at Maple Leaf Foods, visit: 

Forward–Looking Statements

This document contains, and the Company’s oral and written public communications often contain, “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities law. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates, projections, beliefs, judgements and assumptions based on information available at the time the applicable forward-looking statement was made and in light of the Company’s experience combined with its perception of historical trends. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements. The Company believes the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied upon. For the full statement around forward-looking information, please refer to the 2023 Annual Report to Shareholders.

About Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

Maple Leaf Foods is a carbon neutral company with a vision to be the most sustainable protein company on Earth, responsibly producing food products under leading brands including Maple Leaf®, Maple Leaf Prime®, Maple Leaf Natural Selections®, Schneiders®, Schneiders® Country Naturals®, Mina®, Greenfield Natural Meat Co.®, Lightlife® and Field Roast™. The Company employs approximately 13,500 people and does business primarily in Canada, the U.S. and Asia. The Company is headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario and its shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MFI).


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