Article by: Hari Yellina
Tonight, how about some hemp with your chicken nuggets? To cook up its fake chicken offering, a New Zealand business intends to do just that. Justin Lemmens’ Sustainable Foods has received $2.15 million to produce further plant-based meat products, including a chicken substitute manufactured from industrial hemp. Sustainable Foods has teamed up with New Zealand hemp grower Green Fern Industries to create the imitation chicken. While others around the world are imitating chicken with tissue cultures and other plant-based proteins, Sustainable Foods has landed on hemp, which is rapidly increasing.
Sustainable Foods, a New Zealand startup, has secured $2.15 million to increase the reach of its plant-based meat products, which include a hemp-based chicken replacement. Sustainable Foods (not to be confused with Sustainable Food Ventures, a micro venture capital firm) did not reveal the names of all of the investors who took part in the round. However, the company acknowledged that the four largest investors are all from New Zealand, and that Green Fern Industries, its development partner and sole hemp farmer, was among them.
The hemp-based product took three years to develop, according to the business. In 2020, Australians consumed an average of 44 kilos of (actual) poultry each year, and the love of chicken shows no signs of waning. According to industry analysts, chicken accounts for half of all meat consumed in Australia. The company’s plant-based meat products are currently available in New Zealand, and it plans to export them to Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines with the new funding. It claims that its “Chick*n” has the same amino acid profile as normal chicken and contains the same amount of protein while containing less fat.
Also in the synthetic food realm, Beyond Meat, one of the world’s largest producers of artificial meats, has teamed up with soft drink behemoth Pepsico to develop jerky. Beyond Jerky is the first “shelf-stable plant-based jerky” to be offered in the United States. Beyond Meat has previously made plant-based hamburgers, meatballs, sausages, and its own fake chicken, but it now wants to penetrate the snack market with jerky, a classic product that has been difficult to imitate.