A new Aussie plant-based meat startup has launched, backed by the CSIRO and the founder of Hungry Jack's

Steamed Gua Bao Buns. Image v2foods.
  • Australian plant based meat startup v2food launched in Australia on Tuesday.
  • The startup was created in partnership with the CSIRO and Hungry Jack’s founder Jack Cowin.
  • The team is also building a $20 million plant to produce plant based meat.

There’s a new plant-based meat alternative in town, backed by Hungry Jack’s founder Jack Cowin.

Australian plant-based meat startup v2food launched in Sydney on Tuesday, a partnership between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin’s, Competitive Foods Australia – the group behind Hungry Jack’s.

The launch event was held at Bart Jr in Redfern, with Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, v2food Founder and CEO Nick Hazell, the CSIRO’s Deputy Director of Agriculture & Food Martin Cole and Jack Cowin attending.

Hazell told Business Insider Australia why the company was called v2.

“Because version one of the food system is screwed,” he said. “We need another version. We need to rethink the food system…and that includes plant based meat.”

Hazell said the main ingredients of v2foods are legumes, sunflower oil and coconut fat.

He added that the startup wants to appeal to meat eaters. “We want meat eaters to have a choice to say okay, today, we’re going to still cook spag bol or chilli con [carne] or have a burger, but it’s going to be with v2.”

A $20 million plant

Cowin, who is chairman and CEO of Competitive Foods, said he jumped on board with the v2 because it looked like a good commercial opportunity.

“The essence of the problem is the fact that the cow is a poor manufacturer of protein,” he said. “So you can turn grain into protein and you can make it taste good. It may not be exactly the same, but if you make it taste good, then we have a more efficient way of making protein.”

Cowin said the team is building a $20 million plant, which is set to produce plant-based meat, according to the Australian Financial Review.

“We’ve looked at all the different products that are being made in the US…[and] we think we can compete very favourably,” he told Business Insider Australia.

Construction on the new plant is set to begin before the end of 2019, according to the AFR, and it will start by making hamburger patties.

A $6 billion industry

According to the CSIRO, the plant-based meat market is set to be worth more than $6 billion by 2030 in Australia, which will present a big opportunity for existing meat and grain producers.

v2food joins other plant-based meat brands from Australia and New Zealand such as Soulfresh’s Eaty range and Sunfed’s Chicken Free Chicken.

CSIRO’s Deputy Director of Agriculture & Food Martin Cole said V2 could be a billion-dollar company that “could be bigger than Hungry Jack’s”.

Hazell said Australia is known for exporting meats to the world and he wants v2food to be part of that equation.

“From an Australian meat industry perspective, this is an opportunity to double, triple, quadruple what we make in Australia to export to the world,” he told Business Insider Australia.

“Australia is a small market, the growth in consumption of meat is going to be in Asia and in developing countries. That’s where the per capita consumption of meat is increasing. And that’s where if you join the dots, that’s where you see we have this existential problem that we’re trying to solve.”

v2food is set to appear in restaurants and cafes before the end of the 2019, and aims to have a presence in-stores by early 2020.

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