Kiwi plant-based protein company targets global expansion for Chicken Free Chicken

By Lester Wan contact

- Last updated on GMT

With the capital raise for expansion, new products are in the works, such as Pig Free Bacon and Cow Free Beef. ©SunfedMeats
With the capital raise for expansion, new products are in the works, such as Pig Free Bacon and Cow Free Beef. ©SunfedMeats

Related tags: Meat

Auckland-based meat substitute producer Sunfed Meats, which has consistently sold out its Chicken Free Chicken in New Zealand, is in the midst of a series A capital raise to significantly expand production to meet growing local and overseas demand, and to launch new products.

Founder and CEO Shama Lee declined to disclose the amount they are looking for this time but Sunfed raised $1.5m in an earlier round, to commercialise Chicken Free Chicken.

There has been especially strong interest from the US, UK and Australia. The company said the capital raise has been extended to cater to “major interest”​.

“Our preference is for strongly-aligned and strategic investors who can accelerate Sunfed’s growth and add to our global vision,” ​Lee told us.

International demand rapidly growing

She said that Sunfed plans to ramp up production 100-fold in order to start servicing international demand.

“We have far more demand than we can meet from all sides of the business: retail, wholesale and fast food, and it keeps growing.

“It has all been organic word-of-mouth, which speaks about the product,” ​she said.

A Facebook video of Sunfed Chicken Free Chicken has gone viral with more than 10 million views.

Sunfed Chicken Free Chicken was launched in July 2017, through the two largest supermarket chains in New Zealand, Progressives and Foodstuffs. It was sold out on launch day.

While Sunfed has since been increasing production, its product is still consistently sold out. The company says it is continually inundated with queries about when new stock will arrive, and when its product will reach other areas.

Sunfed Chicken Free Chicken is currently carried in 63 stores and outlets in New Zealand.

New scale, new products

With the capital raise for expansion, new plant-based meat products from Sunfed are in the works, such as Pig Free Bacon and Cow Free Beef. The launch date has yet to be confirmed.

Asked if the new products would have the same properties and meet the same criteria as Chicken Free Chicken, Lee responded: “Yes. All Sunfed products will meet the high standards of being clean and minimalist; so soy-free, gluten-free, preservative-free, GMO-free, and so on.”

It is also cholesterol-free and trans fat-free.

Lee said there are several key differentiators of Sunfed Meats compared to other meat substitutes or plant-based protein products available in the market.

She said, primarily, the taste and texture of Sunfed Meats is very similar to animal meat.

“This is not the case with existing meat alternatives on the market,” ​she said.

Sunfed Meats also claims to have the “cleanest, most-minimalist ingredient deck on the global market”​, using only six ingredients and water. Sunfed Meats is mainly made from yellow peas.

Furthermore, Lee says that Chicken Free Chicken is a ‘naked’ product that is “not hidden behind sauces, coatings or flavours like existing meat alternatives on the market.”

When asked what prompted her to go into the business of meat-free meat, Lee was passionate in her response.

“Sunfed is built on three axioms: Good for us, good for the planet, good for animals,”​ she said.

“I looked at it as, fundamentally, an energy problem. Just as there are sustainable and non-sustainable forms of other energy, so is the case with food.”


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