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Australian Supermarkets Withdraw Plant-Based Brand Sunfed Meats From Shelves

New Zealand-headquartered plant-based meat brand Sunfed Meats is reportedly no longer available in Australia, with supermarket chains Woolworths and Coles confirming that they no longer stock the brand’s products.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sunfed’s valuation has been reduced to zero by its leading investor, Blackbird Ventures, though neither Sunfed nor the investment firm appears to have commented on this. The brand currently still seems to be available in New Zealand, but Australia is no longer mentioned on its website.

It remains unclear why the products have been withdrawn from Australia; one commenter on Sunfed’s Facebook page said they had contacted Woolworths and were told the range had been discontinued due to lack of demand, but other commenters pointed out that the products had frequently sold out when they were in stock. Sunfed has not responded to any comments asking whether the range will return to Australia.

© Sunfed Meats

Sunfed Meats initially rose to popularity with the launch of its allergen-free pea protein-based chicken alternatives, featuring a short, clean ingredients list and double the protein content of conventional chicken. The company raised NZ$10 million in a Series A round in 2018 to fuel its expansion to Australia, which took place the following year.

Sunfed then expanded its range with beef and bacon alternatives, and became the first plant-based meat brand to be exhibited at the meat festival Meatstock in 2020. Two years later, Sunfed launched a new beef-style product, Raw Prime Diced.

The Sydney Morning Herald cites several factors that may have caused difficulties for the company, including an overestimation of consumer demand for meat alternatives, category consolidation, and high production costs. However, Main Sequence Ventures partner Phil Morle told the publication that Australian plant-based meat brand v2food is seeing 6% revenue growth per year, indicating that there is still demand for meat alternatives in the region.

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