Harvest b co-founders Alfred Lo and Kristi Riordan holding a bag of plant-based proteins

Harvest B co-founders Alfred Lo and Kristi Riordan © Harvest B

Company News

Harvest B Partners with Butcher Supplier Dunninghams to Bring Plant-Based Whole Cuts to New Zealand

Australian food manufacturer Harvest B has signed an agreement with Dunninghams, a butcher supplier in New Zealand since 1921, to distribute its high-quality plant-based whole cuts. This agreement marks Harvest B’s first distribution deal and first export. Co-founders Kristi Riordan and Alfred Lo started Harvest B in 2020 to supply the food industry with the next generation of plant-based meat and hybrid products. The company, which has an R&D center in Sydney, has developed a range of plant-based whole cuts using proprietary plant protein formulations and extrusion technologies. “Over our 100 year history, Dunninghams has always sought to lead the market by offering high-quality, innovative ingredients and food products to New Zealand. We believe that Harvest B’s products will deliver a healthy, affordable and great tasting …


Australia's Vegan Food Hub is raising funds to expand its business across Australia

© Soul Burger


Australian Alt Protein Industry Has Grown Tenfold, But Bottlenecks Must Be Addressed

According to non-profit organisation Food Frontier, the alt protein industry in Australia and New Zealand has grown tenfold in the past few years, but the speed of growth has led to bottlenecks in supply chains. The plant-based meat market in the region is expected to generate almost $3 billion in domestic consumer sales by 2030, with 169,000 tonnes of end product manufactured over this period. It comes after the number of producers increased from just four in 2018 to over 20 this year. However, there are currently bottlenecks in the form of infrastructure capacity, a shortage of skilled workers, and a limited local supply of crops and other ingredients. This could provide an opportunity for farmers, who could benefit from producing the pulses and legumes …


Free Flow Manufacturing dedicated alt milk facility

© Free Flow Manufacturing

Manufacturing & Technology

Free Flow Manufacturing to Open “New Zealand’s First Dedicated Alt Milk Facility”

New Zealand beverage manufacturer Free Flow Manufacturing is planning to open what it claims is the country’s first dedicated alt milk facility later this year. The plant will be able to produce 50 million litres of milk alternatives per year, including for New Zealand’s first oat milk brand, Otis. Currently, Otis uses oats that are grown in New Zealand, but has to ship them to Sweden for processing due to a lack of suitable facilities locally. Described as “one of the world’s most technically advanced plant-based milk manufacturing facilities”, the new plant will see Free Flow’s footprint expand with 2,500 square metres of production space and an extra 4,000 square metres of warehousing. Otis says it has been searching for a suitable manufacturing partner for …


EatKinda ice cream

© EatKinda

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

EatKinda: Innovative Dairy-Free Ice Cream Made From Upcycled Cauliflower

EatKinda is a New Zealand company making plant-based ice cream with an unusual key ingredient — cauliflower. The brand was founded in 2020 by longtime vegan Jenni Matheson and food technology student Milli Kumar. To make the ice cream, cauliflower that would otherwise be wasted is combined with ingredients such as coconut oil, pea protein, and chickpea flour to give a rich, creamy texture. The product is currently available in three flavours: Strawberry Swirl, Chocolate Swirl, and Mint Choco Bikkie. In blind taste tests, it is said to have performed equally to conventional dairy ice cream. Lost crops EatKinda’s journey so far has not been without its challenges — 460kg of cauliflower earmarked for use in the ice cream was lost in floods earlier this …



© Best Foods / Unilever

Products & Launches

Best Foods Vegan Mayo Arrives in NZ. But Isn’t This Hellman’s? What’s the Story?

Unilever today announces the launch of Best Foods vegan mayo in New Zealand, in response to the “rapidly expanding wave of consumers looking for a better balance,” according to the brand. But consumers around the world will recognise it as the Hellman’s brand mayo which has been popular in several markets for years – what’s the story? Hellman’s / Best Foods Hellman’s, and Best Foods, identical brands owned by Unilever since 2000, operate under the two brands in different markets. The famous sauces and condiments are sold under the Best Foods brand in US states west of the Rocky Mountains as well as East Asia, Southeast Asia, New Zealand and Australia. Meanwhile, the products use the Hellman’s name in US states east of the Rocky …


new zealand's biotech company opo bio's team in a photo shoot outdoors

© Opo Bio

Cultivated Meat

NZ’s Opo Bio Emerges From Stealth With $1.5M Seed for Cultivated Meat Ingredients

Opo Bio, a New Zealand-based biotech startup developing what it refers to as next-gen cultivated meat ingredients to supply producers of cultivated meat, announces the launch of its first product, Opo-Moo, a primary bovine muscle cell line. Opo Bio concurrently announces a NZ$1.5 million Seed capital round led by Matū Karihi, syndicated with The University of Auckland Inventors’ Fund, Booster Innovation Fund, and angel investors. Cell lines supplier Opo Bio is a B2B cultivated meat biotech company founded in July 2022 by Dr. Olivia Ogilvie, Dr. Laura Domigan, and Dr. Vaughan Feisst using previous research carried out by Dr. Domigan at The University of Auckland. The company aims to become the leading developer and supplier of cell lines for large-scale cultivated meat production. Its initial focus …


Domino's Australia

© Domino's Australia

Fast Food

Domino’s Australia Partners With Impossible Foods For New Pizza Range

Domino’s Australia has joined forces with Impossible Foods to launch a new range of pizzas made with plant-based Impossible™ Beef. The pizzas, which will also be available at Domino’s New Zealand, include: Vegan Impossible BBQ Burger — BBQ sauce topped with fresh tomato, red onion, vegan cheese, butter pickles, and Impossible plant-based Beef Pattie. The pizza is finished with hickory BBQ sauce. Vegan Impossible Double Beef & Onion — Vegan cheese, Impossible plant-based Beef Pattie, and red onion on a BBQ sauce base​. Vegan Impossible Fire Breather — Vegan cheese, Impossible plant-based Beef Pattie, jalapenos, diced tomato, red onion, and chilli flakes​. Vegan Impossible Godfather — Vegan cheese, Impossible plant-based Beef Pattie, capsicum, diced tomato, and Kalamata olives on a garlic and pizza sauce base, …


microbial whey proteins maker daisy lab

© Daniele Barison/ Daisy Lab


NZ: Daisy Lab Announces $1.5M Seed Round for Microbial Whey Protein

Daisy Lab, a New Zealand food tech startup developing proteins using precision fermentation, announces a $1.5 million seed round to scale up the company’s microbial whey protein production. The startup’s goal is to complete the round before the end of the year. Daisy Lab has recently made groundbreaking discoveries, establishing three whey protein expression systems –one of them with full IP rights– to produce whey proteins using microbial hosts, the startup explains. Irina Miller, Daisy Lab’s cofounder and CEO, believes that “if the seed target is met, we will have whey-based products by mid-2023, ahead of what we have previously anticipated.” Scaling whey proteins for dairy products Daisy Lab has been experimenting with microbes to produce dairy proteins since 2021. This year, the startup received …


New Zealand cellular agriculture professorship.

Stefan Clerens © AgResearch

Cultivated Meat

New Zealand Institutes Seek Skilled Scientist for Cell Ag Professorship

New Zealand’s Riddet Institute and AgResearch are collaborating to create a jointly funded cellular agriculture professorship. The position will be based at the Te Ohu Rangahau Kai research facility, which the two entities share. Hosted at Massey University, The Riddet Institute is focused on advanced food research, while AgResearch works in the agri-technology field. The Riddet Institute is already conducting research into cellular agriculture, but through the new professorship, the institutes hope to increase research and training capacity in this area. Riddet Institute director Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh said that cellular agriculture has the potential to considerably disrupt conventional animal agriculture. He added that it is important for New Zealand to develop its capabilities in the field and to exploit commercial opportunities. Alt-protein in New …


©Off Piste Provisions


New Zealand Urged to Invest in Plant-Based Protein 

Kiwi plant-based producer Off-Piste Provisions is calling on the New Zealand agri-food and ingredients sectors to invest in pea and fava protein. The vegan outdoor foods brand has commissioned a new report to highlight the opportunities for pea and fava bean extraction in the country.  Entitled “Feasibility of Pea and Fava Bean Protein Extraction in New Zealand” and undertaken by PwC New Zealand, the report set out to understand the current market situation and opportunities that exist for pea and fava bean protein extraction in New Zealand. The report suggests a sizeable opportunity is present for investors and the local agri-food and ingredients sectors. Interestingly, Off-Piste Provisions – producer of on-the-go plant protein such as jerky – is funded by the New Zealand Ministry for …


SeaSpire snapper close up


Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

SeaSpire Unveils Bioprinted Plant-Based Whole Cut Snapper

SeaSpire, an Indian alt seafood startup, reveals a clean label whole-cut snapper alternative, claiming it is the first of its kind to produce bioprinted whole-cut whitefish products in the APAC region. SeaSpire, a foodtech producer of whole cuts of seafood alternatives, is establishing an operational base in India to cater to the APAC region and has an R&D base in New Zealand. The founders state that the snapper, its first product, was created using only seven clean label plant-based ingredients using its proprietary bioprinting platform. Over the coming months, the company will pilot-launch its first set of plant-based seafood offerings in India and New Zealand, focusing on building an alternative-seafood brand in the emerging APAC markets including Singapore and Australasia.  “We see greenfield opportunities when …


© Sustainable Foods

Facts & Figures

Hemp-Based Chicken Producer Sustainable Foods Receives $1.25M From NZ Government

Sustainable Foods, a New Zealand company making alt-protein products including an innovative hemp-based chicken alternative, has received a $1.25 million loan from the country’s government. Allocated as part of the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund (RSPF), the capital will help Sustainable Foods scale up within New Zealand, as well as sourcing more of its ingredients locally and ultimately expanding to other countries. The RSPF is part of the government’s strategy to develop a low-emissions and highly-skilled economy. Plan*t Sustainable Foods markets its products under the brand name Plan*t, and is already supplying various restaurant chains such as Countdown, Hell Pizza, and Gorilla Burger. Additionally, the brand is available via New Zealand’s three largest distributors and has successfully gained listings at several major retailers. The new loan …


Harmless Food Berkano Foods

©Berkano Foods

Products & Launches

Berkano Foods Partners with Countdown Supermarkets to Launch New Zealand’s “Most Affordable” Vegan Meals

Berkano Foods, the New Zealand plant-based brand, has launched phantom brand Harmless Food Co in partnership with Countdown supermarkets. Berkano has developed a proprietary alt chicken for the launch of the new range in Countdown with the goal of reaching price parity with conventional chicken.  Founded by Kiwi entrepreneurs and Forbes 30 Under 30 listees Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow, Berkano Foods specializes in DTC frozen vegan ready meals and has launched Harmless Food Co using its new alt chicken development. Harmless is a phantom brand, meaning not quite a private label, but manufactured exclusively for Countdown with Berkano retaining full ownership. There are four SKUs in the new Harmless Food Co range all priced at NZD$8.00 (USD$5.30) available now. Last year saw Berkano move …


Leaft Foods Co-Founders Maury Leyland Penno and Dr. John Penno. Photo credit: Jerome Warburton

Investments & Acquisitions

Leaft Foods Raises $15M for Leaf-Derived Protein With Similar Profile to Beef

New Zealand-based Leaft Foods has secured $15 million in funding for its leaf-derived protein. Participants in the round included Khosla Ventures, NBA star Steven Adams, and New Zealand indigenous investor Ngāi Tahu. Leaft plans to use the Series A funding to increase R&D efforts, expand, and create a global value chain beginning with the United States. The company hopes its technology could pave the way for a new type of regenerative agriculture. Protein from leaves Leaves are the most abundant part of a plant, but until now it has proven difficult to obtain a significant amount of protein from them. Leaft’s technology changes that by extracting the protein RuBisCo, used for photosynthesis. According to the company, RuBisCo (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase-oxygenase) is the most plentiful protein on …


hemp meat Sustainable Foods

Founders L-R Kyran Rei and Justin Lemmens © Sustainable Foods

Investments & Acquisitions

Sustainable Foods Raises $2.15M for Chicken Alternative Made With Hemp

New Zealand company Sustainable Foods has raised $2.15 million to expand the reach of its plant-based meat products, which include a chicken alternative made with hemp. Sustainable Foods (not to be confused with micro venture capital fund Sustainable Food Ventures) did not disclose the identity of all the investors who participated in the round. However, the company confirmed that the four biggest investors are all based in New Zealand, and that its development partner and exclusive hemp grower Green Fern Industries had participated. Sustainable Foods products are already available across New Zealand via partnerships with the country’s three largest distributors, as well as listings at major retailers and quick-service restaurants. The company is now looking to expand internationally — it plans to begin by exporting …


Miruku Co-Founders - Amos Palfreyman, Ira Bing and Harjinder Singh

©Miruku Co-Founders - Amos Palfreyman, Ira Bing and Harjinder Singh

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

Former Dairy Exec Founds Miruku, Using Plants Instead of Cows to Create Dairy Proteins

Miruku, a New Zealand alt dairy startup, has announced an oversubscribed $2.4 million seed investment round. The company is developing dairy proteins in plants through its proprietary molecular farming platform to create real cheese and yogurt without cows.  Miruku is modifying plant cells to have them produce dairy proteins, sugars, and fats as though they were tiny cellular factories. As the company notes, cows already use plants to produce these dairy proteins, so the process effectively circumvents them as an intermediary and delivers plant-produced compounds to food producers instead.  Miruku was established in 2020 by CEO Amos Palfreyman, a former dairy industry executive, as well as Ira Bing, Professor Harjinder Singh, and Professor Oded Shoseyov. The company claims its proprietary molecular farming platform is unique …


Sunfed Bull Free Beef Raw Prime Diced


Products & Launches

Sunfed Launches Bull Free Beef Raw Prime Diced Across New Zealand 

Sunfed – one of New Zealand’s leading plant-based brands – has launched its latest raw alt meat cut. The latest offering, Bull Free Beef Raw Prime Diced, will launch this week through Countdown, New Zealand’s largest supermarket chain.  Sunfed, founded by Shama Sukul Lee in 2015, offers a range of “meat-free meat” cuts, opting for raw plant-based ingredients rather than the processed products which dominate the market. As the foodtech brand has emerged as a major player in the antipodean vegan meat industry, vegconomist takes a look at its biggest moves so far. Chicken Free Chicken After raising $10 million in Series A capital, Sunfed expanded its popular Chicken Free Chicken across Australia. Taking over three years of product development – and a lot of …



Fashion, Design & Beauty

Allbirds Files NASDAQ Listing With Plans For Huge Retail Expansion Despite Losses

Sustainable footwear brand Allbirds this Tuesday revealed it has applied to list its Class A common stock on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol BIRD. The NY Times reports that the B Corp, which was valued at around $1.7 billion in 2020, brought in about $219 million in revenue last year, Allbirds was founded in 2014 by Tim Brown and Joey Zwillinger in New Zealand, setting out as a DTC brand specialising in sustainability. In an interview from back in 2018, Zwillinger stated that an IPO was “not desirable for a variety of reasons,” and that the Allbirds had been “profitable since basically day one.”  As has been widely reported, the company has reported major financial losses and admits it will continue to be unprofitable for …


berkano steak

©Berkano Foods

Company News

Forbes 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs Berkano Foods Launch New Zealand’s First Plant-Based Beef, Lamb & Pork

New Zealand startup Berkano Foods has moved into the alt meat market, with plans to launch plant-based beef, lamb, and pork, in what it claims to be a New Zealand first. Founded by Kiwi entrepreneurs and Forbes 30 Under 30 listees Britteny Bryan and Nicholas Harlow, Berkano Foods has also revealed plans for export.  Founded in 2017 and starting out in the manufacturing of ready-to-eat meals, Berkano Foods is now expanding into the plant-based meat market, with the core mission of making plant-based foods more accessible and affordable for everyone. The new product line is due to hit shelves in 2022.  After getting the go-ahead from the University of Canterbury’s ThincLab program – a program developed to help validate, build and scale business ideas –  …