Huge Woolies deal unveiled for fake meat
Woolworths will now stock Australian-made plant-based mince and burger patties that taste, look and cook just like regular mince - and the cost is on par, too.
The company behind the popular Hungry Jack's Rebel Whopper, Australian plant-based meat start-up v2food, has signed a deal with Woolworths that will see its meat-free mince and burgers launch in more than 600 stores across Australia.
From today, v2mince and v2burgers will be available in the meat aisle of Woolies outlets apart from Western Australia.
Nick Hazell, v2food founder and CEO, told news.com.au that the product matches meat in the way it looks, cooks, tastes and costs.
Half a kilo of v2 mince retails for $8.50 and a 4-pack of v2burgers is $9.
"It delivers the taste of meat that people love at a price that's affordable," he said.
Woolworths plant-based category manager Mauro Pisani commented that plant-based foods are growing in popularity. "We're continuing to see growth in the plant-based category, particularly in recent months as customers cook more at home and are looking for variety in their diet," he said. "We're excited to offer v2food within our broader range, giving Aussies a great tasting and affordable plant-based option."
SPAG BOL WITHOUT MINCE?
Meat-eaters and plant-based eaters alike are fans of the meat alternatives that "tastes just like the real thing".
"Some people actually prefer our product over meat," Mr Hazell said.
Founded as a collaboration between CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin's Competitive Foods, v2food worked closely with Australia's leading research body CSIRO to create the meat alternative.
"You can cook a spag bol with meat or with v2 mince and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference," Mr Hazell said.
Teaming up with CSIRO meant they were able to use rigorous research and development to recreate the meat flavour.
"Legumes don't taste of meat when you grow them so there are things we have to do to change that," he said. "We've used the science of CSIRO to deliver on the taste of meat and the way you cook it."
The meat alternative includes minerals and vitamins such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12 as well as protein - with the added benefit of plant-based fibre while having less saturated fat than meat. Mr Hazell said there are no artificial colours or flavours and no preservatives in the product. "We've designed it to be healthy," he said.
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LESS MEAT MOVEMENT
With more people around the world reducing their meat intake, many Australians are open to the idea of plant-based meats, Mr Hazell said.
Stocking plant-based meat alternatives in Woolworths stores across the country will make it easier for Australians to do that.
"People are looking to reduce their meat intake," Mr Hazell said.
"Vegans and vegetarians have been looking for this, but half of Australians are looking to reduce their meat consumption," he said. "We're about getting plant-based to everybody and this is a great step," he told news.com.au.
Recent research from Food Frontier found that six in ten Aussies and Kiwis have tried or want to try plant-based meat. A YouGov survey commissioned by v2food found that 49 per cent of Australians want to reduce their meat intake.
Thomas King, CEO of Food Frontier, commented that Australians have been urged for decades to reduce red meat intake and eat more plant foods, but he said consumer behaviours and preferences largely haven't changed.
"Our study showed plant-based meats offer certain benefits of plant foods like dietary fibre, and are nutritionally superior or comparable on average to similar conventional meats," he said. "This means that for Aussies who still want a burger to throw on the barbecue or mince for their bolognese, plant-based meats can serve as a healthier option."
With a growing population - it is expected to increase by about two billion by 2050 - and changing demands on our planet, Mr Hazell said part of the reason for the global trend to plant-based diets is to help the environment.
"With the world's population set to reach 10 billion people by 2050, demand for meat is growing exponentially. This is driving some of the greatest health, food security and sustainability challenges facing our world," Mr Hazell said.
"It's a solution to the existential problem we're facing with the amount of meat we're consuming on the planet," he said. "People are beginning to realise that it just doesn't work and it's more efficient to eat plant-based meat.
"There's a real movement happening. People are questioning everything - what's the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, for the environment," he added.
"People's habits are only going to change if they have alternatives that taste just as good as the real thing, at a fair price and which can be easily replicated in their favourite meals.
"We now have a real chance to show Aussies how good plant-based meat can taste, helping them make food choices that are better for the planet."
Since creating the popular Hungry Jack's Rebel Whopper which was rolled out across Australia's 400-odd Hungry Jack's outlets last October, v2food has expanded quickly.
This year, the company paired up with Marley Spoon and Dinnerly to help deliver plant-based meat to people's kitchens. The company also partnered with food delivery service Deliveroo in June this year, getting plant-based burgers on the menu at restaurants across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast - such as Royal Stacks, Hashtag Burgers, The Italian Bowl and Boss Burger - as well as the popular plant-based burger chain Soul Burger.
A major leap was teaming up with Drake's supermarkets in August, a $1.85 billion move that saw the plant-based mince and burger products hit all 61 outlets in South Australia and Queensland.
It was a good test-run before signing the deal with Woolworths. "We know that our product delivers and is popular after the Drakes partnership," Mr Hazell said. "We have high expectations that it will go well in Woolies. Everyone loves the product."
While the aim is to see v2food in all Woolies stores, for now Western Australians will miss out.
Mr Hazell also hinted at the range expanding, adding that the partnership with the CSIRO was ongoing. "We have other products in the pipeline," he said.
Originally published as Huge Woolies deal unveiled