A clean break indeed: Planterra thanks rivals Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat in open letter

Lightlife Foods criticized its competitors in ads that ran in major newspapers last week.

An olive branch has been extended in the plant-based food fight.

After Lightlife Foods paid for an open letter bashing competitors Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal last week, Planterra Foods joined the conversation on Wednesday. The upstart plant-based food company paid for its own open letter in The New York Times.

But instead of putting its rivals down, Planterra CEO Darcey Macken took a different strategy, thanking them for playing important roles in the category's growth.

“There's been recent chatter and attempted 'take downs' around some companies that helped pave the way for the plant-based food industry and brands,” Macken wrote in the letter. “To be clear, plant-based meats have been around for decades, and we'd be remiss if we didn't take a moment to say thank you to Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, who shined a light on this space and helped elevate it to where it is today.”

Macken told PRWeek that Lightlife’s missive inspired Planterra to write its own letter. Plant-based protein startup Planterra launched this year, but due to COVID-19, the company had to pivot its strategy to get the word out about its products.

“When we saw Lightlife’s letter, we saw it as an interesting and different way we could join the conversation and express our view,” said Macken.

Planterra also wanted to talk about its new plant-based brand OZO, which launched in June, and the fact that its food is “delicious, clean and doesn’t use GMOs.”

Macken said that Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been “great for the industry.” Because of their marketing, people are unafraid and interested in trying plant-based products, she said. 

“While people can have their opinions on how they are doing it through different methods of foods and ingredients, they are bringing attention to [plant-based foods],” said Macken.

Along with the open letter in the NYT, Planterra also published a press release that included the missive on Wednesday morning. Planterra PR AOR Spool Marketing and Communications is supporting this effort.

Lightlife’s open letter last week, penned by the company’s president, Dan Curtin, said that jos company is making a “clean break” from “food tech companies” to use simpler ingredients and methods.  

The strategy did not win Lightlife fans at Impossible Foods, whose communications lead, Rachel Konrad, said someone on the Lightlife marketing team should be fired over the Clean Break campaign. In response, Impossible Foods wrote a blog post on Medium entitled, “Setting the record straight: An open letter to Lightlife in response to its false claims about Impossible Foods’ ingredients.”

This article first appeared on prweek.com.

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