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Sunfed has added a new raw beef analogue to its growing portfolio of realistic plant-based meat products. The prime diced beef development is the latest unprocessed offering that the company claims sets the company apart from many other brands. The product is launching on the shelves of Countdown, the largest supermarket chain in New Zealand.
One of APAC’s first-ever alt-protein developers, Sunfed was founded by innovative female leader Shama Sukul Lee. The new beef follows on from ‘boar free bacon’ and ‘chicken free chicken’. The product is non-GMO, clean label, soy and gluten-free, making it an option for allergy sufferers who want to cut meat from their diets. Pea protein is the hero ingredient, as with Sunfed’s flagship chicken that made global headlines in 2018.
Time for an evolution
Despite being founded in a cattle-rearing country, Sunfed has continued to diversify and enjoy success. “Just like we’re evolving from fossil fuels to solar, we need to evolve from animals to plants,” Shama Sukul Lee, founder and Ceo of Sunfed said in a statement. “That’s what Sunfed is building – the next evolution of protein that is cleaner and better to ensure a brighter future for all. Food is the largest market in the world with the biggest footprint on the planet, transformation here will be significant.”
Lee is no stranger to causing a stir with her products. She launched her boar-free bacon in 2020 at the large New Zealand meat convention, Meatfest. The first plant-based meat manufacturer to ever display at the show, Sunfed went on to sell out of its pea protein-based beef and bacon and claimed the title of the most popular stand at the event.
Getting meat producers in a flap
Though founded in 2015, it would be a further three years before Sunfed released its chicken-free chicken. Despite the extended R&D period, the company was still the first in the region to be producing realistic plant-based chicken analogues, which were picked up by the biggest retailers for distribution. The company claims that the meaty pieces contain twice the protein levels of standard chicken and three times the iron levels of beef. A NZ$10 million Series A in November 2018 allowed for the start of international distribution. Australia was targeted as the first overseas market.
All Sunfed products are made in the company’s proprietary facilities, located in Auckland.
The New Zealand alt-protein scene
Berkano Foods revealed its intention to start producing a vegan meat range after a successful crowdfunding campaign last year. The ready-meal startup secured more than NZ$30,000 to fuel portfolio expansion and start making inroads into its ultimate goal of producing proprietary plant-based meat. Beef, pork and lamb alternatives were all rumoured to be on the cards, with potential launches this year. Nothing has been confirmed yet.
Fellow domestic startup Vince creates dehydrated flavoured mince substitutes using vegetables. A potential seed funding round was discussed last year, to increase annual sales and assist with scale-up.
Impossible Foods expanded into New Zealand at the end of last year. It came after the country’s Food Standards Agency granted approval for the controversial GMO heme ingredient that helps Impossible’s products to ‘bleed’ and taste iron-rich.
Lead photo by Sunfed.