v2food hits shelves in 600+ Woolworths stores

Australian plant-based meat startup v2food will begin rolling out in more than 600 Woolworths stores from today. Based on the growing consumer appetite for plant-based alternatives, Woolworths will now make v2mince and v2burgers available to consumers in the majority of its stores.

Founded as a collaboration between CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods, v2food’s mission is to create great-tasting plant-based meat for Aussie consumers that will help more sustainably satisfy the planet’s demand for meat.

v2food first created the Hungry Jack’s Rebel Whopper in October 2019. Since then, the startup has created v2burgers and v2mince, which recently launched through Marley Spoon and Dinnerly as well as QSR outlets such as Soul Burger. In August 2020 the products rolled out in 61 Drakes supermarkets in South Australia and Queensland. The deal with Woolworths represents a significant step towards v2’s ambitions to make plant-based meat a regular item on Aussie dinner tables.

One of the biggest barriers facing plant-based meat has been the premium price attached to many of the products currently in the market. Understanding that there will not be mass acceptance of meat alternatives until value is comparable to their animal equivalents, v2food has launched their products with a retail price of $8.50 for 500g of v2mince and $9 for a four-pack of v2burgers.

“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. We’re excited to offer v2food within our broader range, giving Aussies a great tasting and affordable plant-based option.” said Woolworths plant-based category manager Mauro Pisani.

“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. But 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,” said Nick Hazell, v2food founder and CEO.

“With Woolworths ranging v2 in over 600 of their stores, 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. I am incredibly proud of the scale that v2food has been able to achieve in such a short space of time, which is testament to the strength of our product. This is an exciting milestone for both us, and for Aussie dinners.”

Recent research from Food Frontier found that six in ten Aussies and Kiwis have tried or want to try plant-based meat (equivalent to 15 million Australians), whilst a YouGov survey, commissioned by v2food, found that 49 percent of Australians want to reduce their meat intake.

At the same time, a new study by Food Frontier and co-authored by Accredited Practising Dietitian Teri Lichtenstein shows that plant-based meat can offer consumers a healthier alternative to similar conventional meat products.

v2food confirms $20m Wodonga factory investment

v2food, Australia’s newest plant-based meat company, is excited to announce the purchase of a 55,470 square-metre site in Wodonga. The purchase of the dormant building represents a chance to inject new life into the site, which will form the cornerstone of the company’s plans to change the way the world thinks about and consumes meat.

Last week v2 secured $35m in funding from some of the world’s leading investors, representing the largest ever Series A funding round for a plant-based meat company, even beating out the US giants Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. More than $20m will be invested in refitting  the Wodonga site to be a world-class food-grade facility including the installation of new equipment using the expertise of local contractors.

The factory is expected to begin operations in Q2 2020 with plans to employ 40-50 local workers. Once up and running, the factory will enable v2food to scale-up at speed to produce the plant-based meat that customers will soon find in supermarkets and restaurants across the country.

v2 surveyed over 50 locations before confirming the Moloney Drive site. It is critical that v2 can locally produce plant-based meat in order to make the most of Australia’s expertise as one of the leading global meat producers and export an Australian success story across the globe.

The world’s appetite for meat is growing too quickly for this to be a threat to local farmers. Instead, there is an opportunity for Australian farmers to become part of a growing industry that could add $6 billion to our economy by 2030. The Wodonga factory will form part of v2food’s supply chain enabling local farmers to supply this growing industry with Australian-grown ingredients.

v2food plant-based protein startup closes $35M Series A round  

v2food, Australia’s newest plant-based protein startup, today announced that it has raised a $35 million Series A funding round led by Main Sequence Ventures, manager of CSIRO’s Innovation Fund, and Horizons Ventures.

The round also includes Fairfax Family investment fund Marinya Capital & leading venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China. These new investors will add significant scale and build an impressive partnership alongside existing seed investors Main Sequence Ventures, CSIRO and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia.

The Series A financing continues an exceptional few months for v2food that saw the company officially launch in October and release its first product in partnership with Hungry Jack’s Australia, the Rebel Whopper. Funding will be used to expand R&D efforts including building a new research and production facility, planning to begin operation in regional Australia in 2020.

The company worked with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to create products that look like meat, cook like meat and taste like meat. Co-founded by former Masterfoods and PepsiCo Research Director, Nick Hazell, v2food’s mission is to develop delicious food that is good for people and good for the planet, revolutionising the way we produce and consume food.

“This is an important step towards v2food’s goal of transforming the way the world produces food.  There is a big shortfall between the amount of meat we produce today and the amount needed to feed the growing global population. There will be nearly 10 billion people on Earth by 2050. Our mission is clear — to provide everyday people with plant-based meat that tastes great and is good for the environment. It’s imperative that we scale quickly because these global issues need immediate solutions and we are fortunate to have secured these outstanding global partners to help propel us forward,”said Nick Hazell v2food founder and CEO.

As demand is currently outstripping supply, v2food also plans to use the funds to expand its footprint in Australia and develop a supply chain that is highly scalable enabling accelerated growth.

“Main Sequence Ventures’ mission is to help transform inspiring Australian research into epic global companies. v2food is an outstanding example of an innovative startup committed to solving a global problem. The team has demonstrated what can be achieved when science and industry collaborate,” said Phil Morle, Partner of Main Sequence Ventures.

With an oversubscribed round, the investors were selected due to their global networks, and their support will help the company to expand its sales and marketing efforts offshore. Leveraging the global ties of Horizons Ventures and Sequoia Capital will enable v2food to enter the next phase of growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region with the support of investors with long histories of backing sector-defining businesses.

“The v2food team has created a truly world-class product in an area that is seeing massive growth and demand. We’re incredibly excited to back this home-grown startup to help bring v2food not only to consumers across Australia but the world,” said Nicholas Fairfax, managing Ddrector of Marinya Capital.

v2food plans to continue to launch new products in outlets across Australia in the next few months.

v2food and CSIRO launch plant-based meat alternative

Australia’s newest plant-based meat startup, v2food, has been launched via an innovative partnership between CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia.

v2food is a sustainable, plant-based alternative to meat. It looks like meat, cooks like meat and tastes like meat. It was formed by CSIRO’s Innovation Fund, managed by Main Sequence Ventures, a part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), in 2018.

Competitive Foods Australia, the company behind Hungry Jack’s, also contributed seed funding to help launch the startup. With the backing of both government and industry, v2food had all the right ingredients for success from day one. The company is led by former Masterfoods and PepsiCo research director, Nick Hazell.

The company’s rapid growth, from foundation to national launch in eight months, is a result of the team’s access to CSIRO’s expansive network of expertise.

CSIRO provided research and development resources to v2food on a research-for-equity arrangement. While a one-man-team at the beginning, Hazell had access to hundreds of the best scientific minds to help perfect the product.

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“Making meat alternatives from plants is not a new idea but at v2food we’ve taken it a step further,” said Hazell. “We are on a journey to make plant-based food both taste better and be more sustainable. The protein substitutes available to date simply don’t taste as good as meat and they are not affordable.

“We’ve drawn upon the best food, nutrition and sustainability science from CSIRO to develop a sustainable and nutritious product, with an unmatched texture and flavour.

The goal is for our product to be a delicious alternative to meat, accessible to every Australian,” said Hazell.

Recognising that there is a need for a ‘version 2’ of the food system, v2food’s range of plant-based meat products taste great and is suited for all consumers.

Made from legumes, the company’s ‘mince’ looks and tastes like quality meat and contains added fibre and nutrients.

“We seem to have the right resources for success,” chairman and CEO of Competitive Foods Australia Jack Cowin said. “With CSIRO’s outstanding research and technology capabilities, the passion of the v2food team led by Nick Hazell and Competitive Foods Australia’s ability to help build and commercialise businesses, we believe that we have the ingredients for a successful venture.

“We’ve seen a huge opportunity for plant-based proteins and the category is set to explode. I’ve eaten beef all my life but I’ve tasted the v2food and it tastes as good as beef.

“Therefore, we can’t wait to take v2food to consumers with some fantastic new products,” he said.

v2food has been collaborating with the grain and meat industries to add plant-based meat to the Australian agricultural story. CSIRO projects this new industry to be worth more than $6 billion by 2030 in Australia. This provides a big opportunity for existing meat and grain producers. It is estimated that by 2050 the world’s population will need twice the amount of food we consume today.

Australia doesn’t currently have the capability to process legumes for plant-based meat alternatives. v2food, with the help of CSIRO, is working on developing this capability to create an all Australian value chain.

v2food will begin to appear in restaurants and cafes throughout the remainder of the year and aims to have a leading presence in-store and in cafes around Australia by early 2020.