For founder and CEO Jade Gray, Off-Piste Provisions’ plant-based jerky range isn’t just a tasty new snack, but potentially the pioneering product of a more sustainable and profitable sector for New Zealand.

After realising there was untapped potential in the alternative protein space while developing Gung Ho! Pizza, a chain of Beijing pizza stores, Gray returned to New Zealand and began to work on Off-Piste Provisions, New Zealand’s first plant-based jerky, made using protein sourced from fava and peas.

“I was looking at New Zealand’s challenges around sustainability and climate change – an area we are very passionate about,” Gray says.

“We realised that if we are going to move the dial for New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions and climate change initiatives, we need to mitigate methane from livestock. If we don’t do that, we are not going to achieve our goals. That led us to animal protein, and we decided to settle on alternative meats.

“For us it’s not about building a brand. It’s about having an impact on methane emissions. To do that we need to build a sector that is viable from an export perspective. We can’t expect to decarbonise away from animal proteins if we don’t have a viable alternative that offers a more beneficial economic outcome.”

Gray believes it is up to entrepreneurs and the Government to get together with the growers and farmers and explore what this sector might look like.

“New Zealand is understandably proud of its meat and dairy excellence – we have relied on it for decades of prosperity – but we can’t allow emotion to cloud progress. It’s important that we stay focussed on what our key global markets are putting in their shopping carts.

“The brand [Off-Piste Provisions] is a catalyst to bring the partners together,” he says.

Off-Piste Provisions recently secured its first round of funding to open a dedicated facility, with backing from a prominent venture capital fund, and are launching the next round of funding in May with the funds being used to drive entry into international markets.