MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO — Maple Leaf Foods Inc. released its first annual Integrated Report, which combines its financial and sustainability performance from the previous year.
“The evolution to an Integrated Report better reflects the integrated nature of our business and shows the interconnectivity between our efforts, our performance and our business strategy,” the report said. “It places a greater focus on shared value and sustainability, concepts that are woven into the fabric of our business strategy, our purpose and our vision and are at the heart of everything that we do at Maple Leaf Foods.”
Maple Leaf’s vision is to become the most sustainable protein company in the world. That vision is built on four pillars: Better Food, Better Care, Better Communities and Better Planet.
In 2022, Maple Leaf exceeded its Food Safety Incident Rate (FSIR) and Quality Incident Rate (QIR) goals by 42% and 36%, respectively.
The company developed a Sanitation Incident Reporting (SIR) metric that measures the effectiveness of sanitation practices. Since the 2019 baseline, Maple Leaf has improved its SIR performance by 69%.
Through the company’s efforts to reduce the use of antibiotics, Maple Leaf cut back antibiotic usage across hog production operations by 99.1% since 2014.
Maple Leaf set a goal to reduce food insecurity in Canada by half by 2030. Through its Centre for Food Security, Maple Leaf has committed over C$10.5 million ($7.9 million) to nearly 30 different initiatives addressing food insecurity.
Within the company, Maple Leaf has set targets and has created programs to promote the safety and well-being of employees. In 2017, the company set out to achieve a 50/50 gender balance in managerial roles within five years. This year, the number of women in management fell slightly short of the goal at 39%.
“Our greatest challenge was, and remains, attracting women into manufacturing roles — a challenge that many companies in the manufacturing industry and the meat sector more broadly face,” Maple Leaf said. “We are committed to meeting this challenge because we believe in the benefits of a gender-balanced workplace, and championing diversity and inclusion are critical components to advancing our collective purpose and vision and living the Maple Leaf Leadership Values.”
Maple Leaf reached several business milestones in 2022 despite challenges brought on by inflation, labor shortages, unfavorable market conditions and a targeted cyberattack in November.
For the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2022, Maple Leaf’s sales grew by 4.8% compared to the previous year to C$4.7 billion ($3.5 billion). Despite sales growth, the company reported a net loss of C$311.9 million ($233.1 million).
Maple Leaf’s Meat Protein Group sales reached C$4.6 billion ($3.4 billion), up 5.2% from last year. The Meat Protein Group consists of prepared meats, ready-to-cook and ready-to-serve meals, snack kits, value-added fresh pork and poultry products that are sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels, and agricultural operations.
“Sales growth was driven by pricing actions to mitigate inflationary cost increases, favorable mix-shift towards sustainable meats, growth in the United States and favorable foreign exchange,” the Integrated Report noted. “These positive factors were partially offset by lower sales volume.”
The Plant Protein Group, which includes brands like Lightlife and Field Roast, continues to see a decline in sales. Sales in 2022 were C$169.3 million ($126.5 million), a drop from last year’s C$184.1 million ($137.6).
“… At this stage, we have rightsized our organizational design and added promo investments to reflect the current size of the business,” said Michael H. McCain, president, chief executive officer and executive chairman of the board, during a March 9 earnings conference call. “And if we continue to see declines, we will have to take further steps to ensure that we are on track and we are prepared to do that. I for one, just given the consumer sentiment here, I feel — and we have continued given the research we have done, feel confident that the category will at some stage return to moderating growth.”