3rd September 2021 By Monique Steele | firstname.lastname@example.org | @foodtickernz
Plant-based proteins firm Sustainable Foods is looking to fortify New Zealand’s plant-based foods sector with its new Paraparaumu production facility which will double as a food innovation hub.
Business development manager Kyran Rei told the Ticker the move into the circa 4,000 square metre former Fonterra factory, where it has taken an 18-year lease, would foster growth in its own plan*t brand and of New Zealand’s plant-based foods sector under the Kāpiti Food Hub banner.
“It’s a world class facility and it’s definitely going to provide us with the infrastructure to meet our visions of building a cohesive plant-based industry within New Zealand and help provide a stable channel to commercialisation not just for ourselves but for the wide category,” Rei said.
Alongside contract manufacturing, this would include being able to “collaborate-manufacture” with other companies at the Te Roto Drive manufacturing facility, which previously housed Fonterra’s Kāpiti Ice Cream and Kāpiti Cheeses brands.
Chief executive Justin Lemmens said the move meant the company could “continue to innovate and expand,” as well as explore a number of partnership opportunities.
“We’re really looking forward to working with other local producers, including local and regional horticultural producers, and manufacturers to grow the sector further in Kāpiti and the greater Wellington region,” Lemmens said.
Wellington-headquartered Sustainable Foods took a collaborative approach to develop its hemp-based chicken alternative in partnership with Taranaki startup Greenfern Industries, the New Zealand Food Innovation Network, and the Riddet Institute research centre.
The white meat product has been added to Sustainable Foods’ range of plant-based burger, mince and sausage retail products, which it acquired when it bought Dunedin business The Craft Meat Co around two years ago.
It recently re-branded the range under then name Plan*t, and would relaunch it in Countdown and Foodstuffs next week, as well as continuing a $20m pushing into export markets.
“Export’s definitely our goal and the facility is certainly in the scope to help us achieve that,” Rei said.
The company was also working with Australian mushroom meant startup, Fable Food, which was looking to enter the New Zealand market by tapping into Sustainable Foods foodservice and retail network.
Commencing production at Paraparaumu meant the company exited its Dunedin facility, the former Fishers Meats factory, which it inherited as part of its Craft Meat Company takeover in January 2020.
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