By The FoodBowl chief executive Alexandra Allan





Plant-based meat is created to look like, taste like, and cook like conventional meat. Companies globally are producing remarkable plant-based steaks, mince, burger patties, chicken, bacon and sausages loaded with taste and texture. They are all on a mission to make it easy for people to reduce meat consumption by swapping to a meat-like plant-based alternative.  

As this new food group grows in popularity, these plant-based products are shaking up the meat industry.  And it is more than just the grocery stores who are on board – Burger King introduced a meatless Whopper to New Zealand in 2020 and many other fast-food chains overseas are taking advantage of this growing trend amongst their consumers by launching plant-based meat alternatives. In the States Burger King launched the Impossible Whopper in 2019 using Impossible Foods plant-based meat product. And Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger, which is available in New Zealand grocery stores, has been a mainstay of fast-food outlets in the USA for some years now.

With so much buzz around the plant-based meat category, a new report by a global management consulting firm A.J. Kearney predicts that only 40 percent of the ‘meat’ we eat by 2040 will come from animals, 35 percent will come from lab-grown meat, and the other 25 percent will be sourced from plant-based alternatives.

What a lot of meat-eaters want to know is: are plant-based versions of meat really healthier? And with regard to calories, most plant-based meats are slightly lower in calories than traditional meats. The main health advantage is that plant-based meats have much less (if any) saturated fat. However, it is the sustainability angle that is proving to be more and more important to many consumers.

NZFIN have been working a number of plant-based meats companies over the past few years. For example, FoodSouth have had the pleasure of working with Ananda, who won the inaugural FoodStuffs FoodStarter competition where the winner gets to range product in New World stores.

Ananda’s Italian-style sausage created by Fernando and wife Maria Lopez, packs a flavour punch with a hint of chilli, fennel and a complex spice understory. It’s an incredible product that you buy pre-cooked ready to BBQ, toss through pasta, onto a pizza or to enhance any vegan meal. “The bite and texture of this vegan sausage really does feel and taste like you’re eating meat – it’s a wonderful product,” says Tracey Sheehey, FoodSouth’s business development manager.

FoodSouth provided the technical expertise, made connections to the industry experts, validated the process, undertook trials and did technical reviews each step of the way. They worked alongside a branding company to develop the packaging and brand and ensure all information on the product was compliant with regulations. The collaboration with Foodstuffs South Island ensured they were on the right track and the pathway into the distribution centre was as simple as possible. Over an intensive few months of hard work, Ananda’s vegan sausage was successfully propelled from the Farmer’s market to the supermarket shelves.

The opportunities in this market are still endless so feel free to contact Alasdair Baxter at [email protected] to discuss your project and visit our website for more details, webinars and blogs to help you on this journey.  www.foodinnovationnetwork.co.nz


Alexandra Allan is the chief executive for The FoodBowl – an open access facility operated by NZ Food Innovation Auckland and part of the NZ Food Innovation Network. She has experience in managing client projects as well as oversight on plant operations previously as the Client Solutions Manager for The FoodBowl. Prior to that, Allan has held senior positions at Danone and Horley’s in product development.

The information and opinions within this column are not necessarily the views or opinions of Hot Source, NZ Food Technology or the parent company, Hayley Media.