While national lockdowns with a ‘stay at home’ message have encouraged people to rediscover the joys of home cooking, the interest in healthy and eco-friendly food continued to grow in New Zealand. Farnaz Faridnia, Business Development Manager for Caldic New Zealand, teamed up with one of the country’s leading producers of meat alternatives to respond to the fast-growing market for plant-based alternatives to meat products.“Veganism and flexitarianism are big trends all around the world, and plant-based eating is taking the world by storm,” says Farnaz Faridnia. “In fact, the demand for meat substitutes has been growing at a rate of more than 30 percent in recent years.” The top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives, she adds, are health and nutrition, diet variety, sustainability, and taste. She points out, however, that a ‘vegan’ or plant-based label is not a guarantee that a product is healthier than a more traditional one.
On a missionHealthier and more sustainable products were precisely what Farnaz’s customer was looking for. “The company was on a mission to formulate meat alternatives that not only taste great, but also have a smaller environmental footprint in terms of greenhouse gases, water consumption, and packaging. Our brief was to help them to develop a range of products using carefully selected, nutritious, plant-based ingredients while securing protein quantity, quality and digestibility.”
“It was a great opportunity for us to support them in their development,” Farnaz continues. “I started working closely with this customer, providing technical support and assistance during the formulation and development of a new range of plant-based meat analogs. I worked with Caldic Canada to help develop new suppliers for the plant-based market as well as discussing technical aspects with the R&D specialists from their Savory Team.”