Food Nation Leading the Kiwi Plant Food Offerings

An award-winning, government-funded plant-based food company, Food Nation is a fast-growing award-winning supplier helping climate change by producing New Zealand grown food such as buckwheat, beetroot, hemp, mushrooms, chickpeas, and quinoa.

In all cases they use mushrooms and chickpeas as a base rather than imported soy or gluten. The food is great for the planet, whether the consumers are flexitarian, vegan, or vegetarian. Their food includes pea and makrut balls, legumes, herbs, spices, cauliflower, turmeric, broccoli, ginger, red pepper and corn magic mince or mushrooms and ancient grained sausages.

The company is owned by Miranda Burdon and Josie Lambert who are co-founders and sisters and run it with a small team at their premises in St Johns, Auckland.

Burdon said the idea of the plant food company was triggered by the need to change people’s diet and support the global shift in food systems in Aotearoa and abroad.

“There is a mountain of evidence that shifting emphasis from consumption of animal products to plants, is going to be key to feeding the world, reducing diseases associated with current diets and looking after our planet,” she said.

“As a nation of food producers and with a long background in the food sector, we believe New Zealand can be the garden to the world as much as the farm and want to support that shift through our products.

“We produce food that is not intended to be fake meat but rather cuisine for all to enjoy and a path to market fresh ingredients. Our ingredients are 4.5-star, gluten free, low allergen and contain no soy so they can be widely enjoyed. Our mission is to get more plants on more plates for the health of people and the planet.”

Food Nation has won Countdown’s health and wellbeing category award and was named as one of the top 50 best small businesses globally by the United Nations.

The company last year took part in the UN food systems summit along with other SMEs from around the world.

With a $147,000 investment from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ food and fibre futures, the company aimed to develop a range of plant-based meat-alternative foods using mushroom seconds and an array of other plants.

The Auckland-based company is using fresh New Zealand ingredients as much as possible, working in partnership with Kiwi producers such as Meadow Mushrooms, Kiwi Quinoa, the Hemp Farm, and the Pure NZ Buckwheat Co.

The products have a four-week shelf life without using preservatives. By using fully recyclable packaging and mushrooms that don’t make the grade for supermarket shelves, the company is reducing waste.

The company is already turning heads internationally, taking out the Best Meat Alternative category at the world plant-based awards in October 2020. They have also been one of the top 10 finalists of FoodStarter, New World and Ministry of Awesome’s competition to find NZ’s most innovative food and beverage products.