Industry reacts to latest meat alternative

There have been raised eyebrows from meat lovers this week, with 'meat-free mince' hitting supermarket meat sections.

The new product is the brainchild of Dunedin's Craft Meat Company, who say it's in response to growing demand for such a product.

The plant-based mince uses ingredients such as mushrooms, tomato, almonds, coconut oil and soy protein.

So does this, along with other non-meat alternatives, threaten the livelihoods of those who produce and market New Zealand meat?

Miles Anderson, board member of Federated Farmers and chair of the Meat and Wool Group, thinks there is room in the market for everyone.

'Meat-free mince' has been produced due to customer demand.
'Meat-free mince' has been produced due to customer demand. Photo credit: Supplied

"With the meat we produce, there's plenty of room - as long as we are selling our products for a premium," he said.

He said where the industry does have an issue is when false marketing comes into play.

"For example in the UK and Europe, we have some products calling themselves meat and milk when they are not," said Mr Anderson.

The marketing organisation, Beef and Lamb New Zealand, also thinks there is room for meat alternatives.

"There's a growing market for those who are looking for an alternative to mince, and it's great to see a traditional New Zealand meat company innovating in this space," said CEO Sam McIvor.

He believes with an additional 1 billion people to feed by 2030, there's space for both red meat and alternative protein products. 

"The same values that are seeing some people look to try alternative protein products are also seeing more people turn to and pay a premium for sustainably produced grass-fed, free-range, hormone and GMO-free red meat, which New Zealand is a world leader in," said Mr McIvor.

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