CSIRO brewing food future
CSIRO has teamed up with a fast food giant to create a new plant-based burger.
The faux-meat startup, v2food, is a partnership between CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin's Competitive Foods Australia.
v2food says it is working on a sustainable, plant-based alternative to meat.
v2food was formed by CSIRO's Innovation Fund, managed by Main Sequence Ventures, a part of the Australian Government's National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), in 2018.
Competitive Foods Australia, the company behind Hungry Jack's, also contributed seed funding to help launch the startup.
The company is led by former Masterfoods and PepsiCo Research Director, Nick Hazell.
CSIRO provided research and development resources to v2food on a research-for-equity arrangement.
“Making meat alternatives from plants is not a new idea but at v2food we've taken it a step further,” Mr Hazell said.
“We are on a journey to make plant-based food both taste better and be more sustainable. The protein substitutes available to date simply don't taste as good as meat and they are not affordable.
“We've drawn upon the best food, nutrition and sustainability science from CSIRO to develop a sustainable and nutritious product, with an unmatched texture and flavour.
“The goal is for our product to be a delicious alternative to meat, accessible to every Australian."
Aiming to create 'version 2' of the food system, v2food creates plant-based meat made from legumes.
The company's says its ‘mince’ looks and tastes like quality meat and contains added fibre and nutrients.
“We seem to have the right resources for success,” Chairman and CEO of Competitive Foods Australia Jack Cowin said.
“With CSIRO's outstanding research and technology capabilities, the passion of the v2food team led by Nick Hazell and Competitive Foods Australia's ability to help build and commercialise businesses, we believe that we have the ingredients for a successful venture.
“We've seen a huge opportunity for plant-based proteins and the category is set to explode.
“I've eaten beef all my life but I've tasted the v2food and it tastes as good as beef.
“Therefore, we can't wait to take v2food to consumers with some fantastic new products,” Mr Cowin said.
Australia does not currently have the capability to process legumes for plant-based meat alternatives.
v2food, with the help of CSIRO, is working on developing this capability to create an all Australian value chain.
“This is an exciting opportunity for Australian grain farmers to be at the forefront of this growing market, which will help them grow and create new jobs,” said Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology.
“This isn't about taking a share of the existing meat market, this is an additional opportunity to create a new market that could add $6 billion to our economy by 2030.”
v2food will begin to appear in restaurants and cafes throughout the remainder of the year and aims to have a leading presence in-store and in cafes around Australia by early 2020.
The first product is the Rebel Whopper, a plant-based alternative to Hungry Jack’s iconic beef burger.
“There is a growing number of flexitarians and meat reducers who, while not necessarily vegetarian or vegan, welcome a plant-based option in their diet,” said Hungry Jack’s CMO Scott Baird.
“The Rebel Whopper will appeal to these people without compromising on the taste our Whopper is known for and we hope to attract even more guests to our restaurants.”