Plan*t : After Retail Launch, NZ Startup Eyes Australian & Asian Markets For Its Hemp-Based Products

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In early 2020, alternative protein food tech Sustainable Foods acquired 100% of The Craft Meat Co and now via this retail brand, the company is set to launch a new product line called Plan*t that will offer consumers hemp-based burgers, sausages, mince, and chick*n alternatives across New Zealand from late May 2021 with an expansion into Australian and Asian markets before the end of this year.

New Zealand-based Sustainable Foods will be launching a new line of plant-based products that the company claims has a lower impact on the environment compared to traditional meat items.

According to a press release seen by Green Queen, the Plan*t products are high on nutrition and protein, low in fat, cholesterol and sugar, with hemp possessing cardiovascular, neurological and anti-inflammatory benefits. Based on the field-to-plate concept, the products are made with sustainably sourced local ingredients and when consumers buy these products, they will be supporting jobs and local businesses in the country.

In addition, the company calls itself kaitiaki (guardians) of the planet and focuses on limiting its energy consumption, switching to renewables and working on recyclable, locally sourced packaging. It aims to build a sustainable food system together with government and grower associations in Aotearoa(Māori name for New Zealand). It has even formed strategic relationships with NZ’s Food Innovation Network, Greenfern Industries and The Riddet Institute for innovative product manufacturing.

In an interview with Food-Navigator Asia, co-founder and business development manager of Sustainable Foods Kyran Rei said: “Chick*n is designed to do everything chicken would and we’re proud to have already launched this with local pizza chain Hell Pizza, (we’re also working on an) upcoming national launch with (local juice and eater chain) TANK in salads and wraps, and it’s also delicious in burgers as well.”

Sandwich with Plan*t chick*n.

The most immediate market we would be interested in is Singapore (if regulations change to allow hemp-based foods entry) as a launchpad into other Asian markets, then there is also Hong Kong and China as well as Japan and we are furthering discussions in Australia as well

Kyran Rei, co-founder and business development manager of Sustainable Foods

The Chick*n alternatives will be launching in all major New Zealand supermarkets like Countdown, New World, and Pak’n Save; as well as gourmet outlets like Farro and Robinson’s Deli and at the moment, though its online presence is via its partner sites, the company plans to offer a direct service in 2022.

Discussing the company’s plans to collect 60% of revenue from imports by 2025, Rei concluded: “Many consumers in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and so on are asking for New Zealand-made plant-based options, so there is definitely an association between the New Zealand brand and clean, green products we can offer. The most immediate market we would be interested in is Singapore (if regulations change to allow hemp-based foods entry) as a launchpad into other Asian markets, then there is also Hong Kong and China as well as Japan and we are furthering discussions in Australia as well.”

According to an analysis, one of the most cheapest ways to mitigate the effects of climate change would be to plant billions of hemp trees and even hemp products have the potential to increase biodiversity seen how it can be a sustainable replacement for petroleum-based plastic products.

Other companies that are banking on the multi-use functionalities of the sustainable crop include Los Angeles-based Grounded Foods, which uses hemp to make plant-based dairy cheese, Amsterdam-based HoodLamb in the fashion industry is making a range of parkas and long jackets made out of hemp, and for the first time, this material was used to design a barrister’s wig ideated by U.K.-based vegan and animal-loving lawyer Samuel March thus ditching the traditional wig that uses horsehair altogether.


All images courtesy of Food-Navigator Asia.


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