Meet v2food: CSIRO and Jack Cowin Partner to Launch Australia’s Newest Plant-Based Meat Startup

What do you get when you pair up the nation’s best of breed scientists and one of Australia’s most prolific food industry pioneers? v2food. 

This week celebrated the official launch of Australia’s newest plant-based meat startup, v2food, an innovative partnership between CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures, and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia. v2food is a sustainable, plant-based alternative to meat with great flavour at its core. It looks like meat, cooks like meat and tastes like meat.

v2food 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. 

Initially operating from community benches at Fishburners Sydney, CEO & Founder, Nick Hazell is now expanding the v2food team at their new dedicated desks in Sydney and across the country. 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, Nick had access to hundreds of the best scientific minds to help perfect the product. 

“Making meat alternatives from plants is not a new idea, but at v2food, we’ve taken it a step further. 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 Nick Hazell v2food Founder and CEO. 

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. 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” said Jack Cowin the Chairman and CEO of Competitive Foods Australia. 

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 $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. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for Australian grain farmers to be at the forefront of this growing market, which will help them grow and create new jobs. This isn’t about taking a share of the existing meat market, this is an additional opportunity to create a new market that could add $6 billion to our economy by 2030,” said the Hon Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. 

v2food will be available nationwide from Tuesday 2nd October as a ‘Rebel Whopper’ at launch customer Hungry Jack’s. v2food products will then begin appearing in restaurants and cafes throughout the remainder of the year with the aim to have a leading presence in-store and in cafes around Australia by early 2020.

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