daisy lab's team

© Image courtesy of Daisy Lab

Fermentation

Yeast Instead of Cows: Daisy Lab Obtains EPA Approval to Scale Whey Proteins

New Zealand’s precision fermentation biotech Daisy Lab announces that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has approved the expansion of its dairy protein platform to 5,000 L. The endorsement follows the successful production of animal-identical whey proteins in 10 L fermenters announced in January. Day Lab states that this approval marks another significant milestone in scaling and commercializing its technology, enabling it to construct a pilot facility.  CSO and co-founder Dr. Nicole Freed highlights the role of the EPA in helping Daisy Lab deal with the legal aspects related to genetic technologies. She shares: “We invested significant time and resources into preparing our application, and it’s gratifying to see our efforts pay off. This is a crucial step forward for Daisy Lab and for precision fermentation technology in New …

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Jooules' team.

CFO Luke Stevenson (L), Founder David McLellan, and Research Scientist Usama Mukhtar © Jooules

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Jooules Secures NZ$1M to Transform CO2 into Complete Protein Ingredients

Jooules, a New Zealand startup that turns greenhouse gas emissions into protein ingredients, has secured NZ$1 million in a pre-seed round led by early-stage investor Sprout Agritech LP. David McLellan, a participant in the Sprout Accelerator program, founded Jooules to transform protein production with an animal and land-free process that delivers a climate-positive ingredient.   A pioneer in New Zealand, the startup leverages cutting-edge science, gaseous fermentation, and specific microbe strains that consume CO2 and turn it into a complete protein powder.  With the new capital, the startup plans to grow its technical team and scale its platform while it develops products in collaboration with the Crown research entity SCION.  Warren Bebb, investment manager at Sprout, shares, “They’ve invented a way to address a global challenge that uses …

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Sunfed Meats Bull Free Beef Raw Prime Diced

©Sunfed

Company News

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 …

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soybean field, agricultural landscape

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Agriculture / Agribusiness

Report: Alternative Proteins Could Significantly Impact Farming in New Zealand

A report published as part of the Protein Futures NZ project (funded through the Our Land and Water National Science Challenge) has found that alternative proteins could have a significant impact on farming in New Zealand. The report outlines four alternative protein scenarios: Demand for alt proteins continues to increase but does not significantly affect animal protein supply chains. Growth is slow due to technical barriers. This scenario is described as unlikely due to the current level of innovation, interest, and investment in the sector. Demand for alt proteins continues and precision fermentation takes off. Consumer acceptance is driven by sustainability concerns. However, the development of cultivated products is stalled due to technical barriers. Plant-based products take off, and some of the barriers facing cultivated …

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Future Food Aotearoa at Future Food Tech

© Future Food Aotearoa

Fairs & Events

Future Food Aotearoa Spotlights New Zealand’s Plant-Based Innovations at Future Food-Tech San Francisco

Future Food Aotearoa, a founders movement working to accelerate the growth and impact of foodtech in New Zealand, was founded in 2020 by Alex Worker, the country manager for Impossible Foods Aotearoa New Zealand and co-founder of NewFish and LILO Desserts. Future Food Aotearoa is set to highlight New Zealand’s role in plant-based food innovation at the prestigious San Francisco Future Food-Tech Conference. With a focus on sustainability, quality, and cutting-edge technology, Future Food Aotearoa aims to position New Zealand as a global leader in shaping the future of food. A select delegation of startups will showcase breakthroughs in food science and technology, presenting their innovative products, including sustainable plant-based and microalgae protein alternatives and advancements in precision fermentation and cellular meat technologies. Representing the …

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© ANDFOODS

Investments & Acquisitions

New Zealand’s ANDFOODS Raises $2.7M for Legume-Based Dairy Alternatives

New Zealand startup ANDFOODS, a spinoff from Massey University and the Riddet Institute, has raised $2.7 million in seed funding for its technology to produce legume-based dairy alternatives. The startup has developed plant-based creams and milk powders, produced by using fermentation to remove flavour off-notes while retaining excellent nutritional benefits and functional properties. The creams are claimed to have “eclipsed all other plant-based creams” in testing, with an overrun (ability to take on air and maintain shape) comparable to the UHT dairy creams used by commercial kitchens and food manufacturers. The products are also allergen-free. The funding round was led by Icehouse Ventures, and the capital will be used to commercialise the dairy alternatives and accelerate R&D. ANDFOODS launched less than a year ago, but …

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New Zealand's premium infant nutrition company, Heaven, has launched what it claims is the world's first 100% oat-based toddler drink, Heaven Oat.

© Haven

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

New Zealand’s Haven Launches “World’s First” 100% Oat-Based Toddler Drink

New Zealand’s premium infant nutrition company Haven has launched what it claims is the world’s first 100% oat-based toddler drink, Heaven Oat, for dairy-intolerant children and plant-based parenting. Haven Oat is said to provide the same levels of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals as the company’s other formulas made with A2 cow and goat milk proteins. Scientifically designed for toddlers aged 12+ months, Haven Oat includes a specific type of oat protein, dairy-free probiotics, and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) obtained from algae to ensure the product is allergen and lactose-free.  In addition, it contains Lutein (an organic pigment) for eye health, 16 essential vitamins, and minerals, and has been formulated for “sensitive tummies.” It does not contain palm, soy, or fish oil. Made in …

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

© Opo Bio

Cultivated Meat

Opo Bio Introduces Porcine Cell Range Sourced From New Zealand “High-Health Status” Livestock

Opo Bio, New Zealand’s first company to develop non-GM cell lines for the cultivated meat industry, has launched Opo-Oink, a porcine cell range for cultivated pork production.  The initial selection of Opo-Oink includes primary cells from pigs, such as satellite cells, pre-adipocytes, and fibroblasts, sourced from local livestock with high-health status. “At Opo, we believe in ethical standards and traceability. That’s why all our animal donors are raised with utmost care and integrity on our partner farms throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand,” says Opo Bio. Commercially available cell lines Opo Bio was founded in July 2022 by Dr. Olivia Ogilvie (CEO), Dr. Laura Domigan (CSO), and Dr. Vaughan Feisst (CTO) to develop primary cells and cell lines, starting with bovine and porcine products. According to the …

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New Zealand's Miruku, a startup growing dairy proteins in plants, has raised $5 million (NZD 8 million) in a pre-series A round to support its B2B model.

Back: (L) Abby Thompson and Ira Bing - Front: (L) Thomas Buchanan, Amos Palfreyman, and Lachlan Nixon (Motion Capital) © Miruku

Cultivated, Cell-Cultured & Biotechnology

Miruku Secures $5M to Develop Proteins in Oilseed Crops for Dairy 2.0 Products 

Miruku, a New Zealand startup developing novel dairy proteins and fats using molecular farming and oilseed crops, has raised $5 million (NZD8 million) in a pre-series A round to support its B2B model.  Motion Capital led the round with the participation of previous seed investor Movac and new investors NZVC, Cultivate Ventures, and Icehouse Ventures. The funding brings the startup’s total investment to $7.4 million, having previously raised $2.4 million in an oversubscribed seed round. With the new capital, the company will advance its “dairy seed system” and conduct trials for its initial crop cultivation with farming partners in Australia, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an Australian government agency. More efficient than other technologies Miruku’s approach promises to offer an efficient solution to meet global …

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Lord of the Fries New Zealand

© Lord of the Fries

Fast Food

New Zealand Franchise of Vegan Fast Food Chain Lord of the Fries Goes on the Market for $1.2M

Bruce Craig, who owns the New Zealand master franchise rights for Australia-based vegan fast food chain Lord of the Fries, has put the business on the market for $1.2 million. Craig bought the rights in 2016, and has since helped the franchise grow to six stores across New Zealand — two in Auckland and one each in Wellington, Christchurch, Botany, and Hamilton. The chain was turning over $3.5 million before the pandemic, but the lockdowns and ensuing move to working from home have reduced sales. However, business is said to be improving as more workers return to the office. Lord of the Fries has 25 employees across its New Zealand stores. Craig and his wife are now looking to sell the business as they are …

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microbial whey proteins co-founders of daisy lab

Daisy Lab Co-Founders Irina Miller (left), Dr. Nikki Freed, Emily McIsaac (right)/ © Daisy Lab

Fermentation

New Zealand’s Daisy Lab Successfully Scales Animal-Identical Whey Paving the Way for a New Dairy Industry

New Zealand’s Daisy Lab, a precision fermentation biotech, announces a scaling milestone: successfully manufacturing animal-identical whey proteins in 10 L fermenters.  In addition, Daisy Lab says that it has established the complete production process to create a final product, a whey protein powder.  Established in 2021 to produce novel dairy proteins, the female-founded startup has achieved remarkable progress in slightly over a year. The team discovered three whey protein expression systems using yeast and has raised $1.5 million to scale its production.  “We’ve successfully executed the process from start to finish, resulting in powdered whey protein that has undergone rigorous external testing. This accomplishment empowers us to delve into the creation of innovative edible product prototypes,” comments Irina Miller, Daisy Lab’s co-founder and CEO. Novel dairy …

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EatKinda cauliflower ice cream

© EatKinda

Milk- and Dairy Alternatives

“World’s First” Cauliflower Ice Cream Launches at 90+ Woolworths Stores in New Zealand

EatKinda, maker of what is said to be the world’s first cauliflower ice cream, has announced its first supermarket listing at over 90 Woolworths stores across New Zealand. Woolworths is New Zealand’s second-largest supermarket group, owning the chains Countdown, SuperValu, and FreshChoice. EatKinda has launched at Countdown stores, which are currently in the process of being rebranded to Woolworths; the transition is expected to be completed early next year. EatKinda’s vegan ice cream is made from cauliflower that would otherwise be wasted because it is cosmetically imperfect — 40% of New Zealand-grown vegetables do not make it to stores for this reason. The cauliflower is combined with ingredients such as coconut oil and pea protein to make three flavours of ice cream — Strawberry Swirl, …

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Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has concluded that Vow's cultivated quail it is safe to eat.

© Vow

Cultivated Meat

Australia Closer to Approve Cultivated Meat: Food Standards Concludes Vow’s Cultivated Quail is Safe to Eat

Australia and New Zealand’s alt protein think tank Food Frontier announces that the cultivated meat company Vow is closer to receiving novel foods approval to produce and sell a cultivated quail product in both countries. Earlier this year, Vow became the first Australian cultivated meat company to apply for regulatory approval. And now, after months of scientific and safety assessment of the product and its manufacturing method, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has concluded that Vow’s cultivated quail is safe to eat.  FSANZ is now sharing its findings as part of the public consultation process, allowing consumers to provide feedback on Vow’s cultivated quail in the next six weeks. In its call for public submissions, FSANZ proposes several labelling requirements for cell-based products to avoid consumer …

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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 …

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

© Soul Burger

Protein

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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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bestfoods_vegan_mayo_packshots

© 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 …

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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 …

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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, …

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