A company in New Zealand has developed the world’s first hemp-based meat, which it plans to roll out as a sustainable alternative to meat as early as next year.
Sustainable Foods is a producer of other plant-based meats, some of which already include hemp for its nutritional value. Through the company’s Craft Meat Co brand, Sustainable Foods will launch the hemp-based burgers in partnership with medical cannabis producer Greenfern Industries.
“Our products all use hemp, which is considered one of the most nutritionally complete food sources in the world, increasing the total consumable protein content,” Sustainable Foods founder Kyran Rei told The Scoop earlier this year.
Sustainable Foods has been developing and testing the burger for months now. With researchers from Massey University’s Riddley Institute, they settled on several products that Sustainable Foods founders Rei and Justin Lemmens claim are rich in protein, dietary fiber and are environmentally friendly.
Although the company says it wasn’t focused on creating a substitute that replicates meat in every aspect, Rei described eating the products as “close to the experience of eating chicken” in an interview with FoodNavigator-Asia.
“We have an abundance of high-quality hemp from which we obtain seed, cake and oil so we partnered with the Riddet Institute to work on background research and hemp product development. We’ve spent 12 months working with Riddet Institute on the product and, after several iterations, we’ve produced some very valuable shared IP,” Dan Casey of Greenfern Industries commented on the collaboration.
All the hemp is locally sourced, while Sustainable Foods also stresses the hemp growing methods employed by Greenfern Industries are highly sustainable. Even the plastic packaging that will be used for the final products is made from mostly recycled content.
However, arguably the most important side-effect of eating a more plant-based diet is minimizing the carbon footprint created by the meat industry. As the public becomes more aware of the devastating environmental impact from meat production, plant-based meat and dairy substitutes have been becoming increasingly popular in the developed world.
The duo behind Sustainable Foods said they are hoping to conduct multiple product trials throughout the remainder of the year in order to be ready for an early 2021 launch, both on the local New Zealand market and for exporting.