New Zealand’s plant-based meat firm Sunfed enters Australian market

NEW ZEALAND – Sunfed Meats, a New Zealand plant-based met company has launched its Chicken Free Chicken in Australia to augment its global expansion ambitions.

The expansion into the market forms part of Sunfed’s key growth strategies, as the company notes market presents an important growth opportunity in the revolutionary alternative meats category.

Sunfed Founder and chief executive Shama Sukul Lee says that the company has been focusing on ensuring that its products and operational model allows for scalability.

“Phase One for us after lots of deep R&D was to launch and commercialize Chicken Free Chicken in New Zealand last year, as New Zealand is a really good test bed for new products, sort of a microcosm of the big macrocosm food market,”​ Lee told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“Now, some 12 months on, we’re moving into Phase Two, where we will take our proprietary technology and scale it up, focusing on scalability and manufacturability.

“It’s why we’ve gone into Australia, as there is a much larger market there and we intend to scale up our production plant there by at least five times.”

Despite growth prospects in the sector looking promising, she highlights that players in the sector often encounter challenges – with the negative impacts coming around fast, as the system “takes out more than it gives.”

“For Sunfed, we’ve always focused on building a regenerative, highly scalable protein system so that scaling up will not bring any negative effects, but instead enrich the environment.”​

The company claims that the Chicken Free Chicken is unique from other plant-based meats as it presents as a whole chicken breast piece, and not a patty made from mince.

“The result of our deep R&D was the ability to create long, succulent meaty fibres, and we are the only company that can do this worldwide,”​ Lee added.

Notably, the Chicken Free Chicken is developed primarily using yellow pea protein, which Lee claims to be the ‘most environmentally sustainable crop to grow’​.

“Yellow peas are hardy, they enrich the soil they grow in, they’re good in terms of water use and they’re even good for the bees – all in all, the use of this crop does not cause any environmental damage and depletion,”​ she said.

Sunfed says that it is targeting consumers seeking an alternative source of protein which is nutrient-dense, gluten-free, soy-free and cooks like meat.”​

Although Sunfed’s key target markets are North America, UK and Europe, Lee is optimistic that the plant-based meat market is substantial to allow for growth noting that the company’s next move will be rolling out the product at a global scale.

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