Powerful words in an age where consumers are questioning not just what is in their next meal, but what was the environmental cost to put it on their plate.
However, this is the challenge Justin Lemmens and Kyran Rei accepted when they launched Sustainable Food’s Hemp-Based Chicken. While they already produced a number of plant-based meat alternatives under the plan*t brand, they were concerned that all meat analogues produced in New Zealand were primarily made from imported protein powders. Therefore, they set out to find alternatives that could be both sustainably grown in New Zealand and used to make delicious vegan products. They quickly found the unique Hemp protein, containing all nine essential amino acids and grown right here in New Zealand was the perfect solution.
After landing on a formulation that met their stringent taste, texture and appearance standards, the next step was to find a facility that could scale up the formulation and allow them to launch into the domestic market. Luckily, FoodSouth was up for the challenge.
While transferring a formulation to a piece of equipment as complex as an extruder is no laughing matter, the Operations Team at FoodSouth took it in their stride, solving numerous technical hurdles and developing a process which allows their Clextral BC-45 extruder to make commercial quantities of hemp-based chicken.
Access to FoodSouth allowed the team at Sustainable Foods to trial different ingredients and equipment under real world processing conditions that directly replicate those found in a commercial production facility. The lessons learnt at FoodSouth have been critical to understanding how the product behaves at a larger scale and has been an important step in their decision to invest a world class plant-based hub in Kapiti.