New Zealand’s Sustainable Foods raise $2.15 million for hemp-based chicken

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Sustainable Foods

New Zealand company Sustainable Foods has raised US$2.15 million in a seed funding round. 

Justin Lemmens, co-founder and CEO, said the funding would help expand the development of its plant-based meat range Plan*t, including an alt-chicken made from hemp. 

Dubbed chick*n, the food is made from locally sourced hemp and, according to the company, has a complete amino acid profile and protein as real chicken meat – with less fat content.

Hemp is one of the planet’s most sustainable crops. It requires little water to grow, it naturally repells pests, so chemical pesticides aren’t necessary, and helps replenish soil quality.

Sustainable Foods – not to be confused with micro venture capital fund Sustainable Food Ventures – currently sources the majority of soy and pea protein, the base ingredients of its other alt-meat range, from Canada, China, the US, and Europe. However, it now plans to replace these ingredients with locally-grown alternative crops suited to New Zealand’s climate to make the production of the hemp-based meat more sustainable. 

“Seeing things grow gets me out of bed in the morning,” said Lemmens. “Having four children, now teenagers and young adults, I want to do something that creates a better future for the next generation and our planet.”

While the company did not reveal the identity of all the investors who participated in the latest funding round, it confirmed that four of the biggest investors are based in New Zealand, and its development partner, hemp grower Green Fern Industries, participated. 

Sustainable Foods hemp-based meat products are available across New Zealand, but the company is looking to expand into countries including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. 

You may also be interested in reading: German startup develops plastic-free leather from hemp waste

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.


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