Aussie plant-based meat startup v2food has launched in 600 Woolies stores across Australia, as COVID-19 continues to drive demand for alternative protein products.
Founded less than a year ago, the startup was born out of CSIRO and has the backing of Jack Cowin, head honcho at Aussie fast-food giant Hungry Jacks.
Just weeks after it was launched, the startup also secured $35 million in Series A funding, in a round led by Main Sequence Ventures.
Since then, it’s expanded into Burger King restaurants in New Zealand, and partnered with the likes of Marley Spoon and Deliveroo.
In August, products were rolled out in 61 Drakes supermarkets in South Australia and Queensland.
But, the partnership with Woolworths is a milestone in taking alternative protein mainstream, and suggests an increasing consumer appetite for such products.
The supermarkets will stock the startup’s burger and mince products, with an aim to offer similar pricing to their animal-based equivalents.
Speaking to SmartCompany back in July, v2food founder and chief Nick Hazell said the business was seeing “exponential growth” throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has proven, with stark clarity, how one person’s actions can have a global impact, he suggested.
“Actually, people realise that individuals make a difference,” he said.
It all plays into the ongoing discussion around sustainability, and food production that doesn’t exceed what the planet can handle.
“You are in a position to actually do something, as an individual, and when we all do it together, something important could happen.”
In a statement, Woolworths’ plant-based category manager Mauro Pisani noted the supermarket giant is seeing an uptick in demand, “particularly in recent months as customers cook more at home and are looking for variety in their diet”.