Leaft Foods general manager, Ross Milne

Leaft Foods has announced it is launching a $20m programme to develop technology that extracts edible protein from New Zealand grown green leafy crops.

The company is working on producing high-quality protein ingredients for use in a range of food products across the rapidly growing global market for plant-based foods.

This means the co-production of a low-emission animal feed, optimised for ruminant nutrition that could significantly reduce farm nitrogen losses.

Trials on the farm will explore adoption pathways and commercial uptake for New Zealand farmers and demonstrate economic and environmental benefits.

“We are building on New Zealand’s reputation as a trusted producer of high-quality protein. Our vision is to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural systems and to meet the increase in demand for plant proteins that align with consumer values,” says founder of Leaft Foods, Maury Leyland Penno.

“More consumers are seeking out tasty and nutritious plant-based foods, which is apparent when you look at how supermarket shelves have changed over the past few years,” says Leyland Penno.

“Our mission is to demonstrate the viability of a sustainable and market-responsive farming system. Backing from MPI accelerates our ability to do that and places us in the leading pack of global food innovators.”

General manager, Ross Milne, says the company is now expanding on its successful preliminary research and “building an exceptional team of people” to deliver the pre-commercialisation programme.