A meat substitute that claims to look, eat and taste just like the real deal will soon be available in Hungry Jack’s.
V2Food is based on eight months of research and work in a partnership between the CSIRO, Main Sequence Ventures, and Jack Cowin’s Competitive Foods Australia, which owns Hungry Jack’s.
Launched this week, v2Food is being touted as an environmentally sustainable alternatives to meat — but just how does a vegan alternative manage to be almost identical to the real deal?
“I’d say, but I’d have to kill you,” v2Food founder and CEO Nick Hazell joked to news.com.au.
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Built on technology and science CSIRO had accumulated, v2Food’s development focused on making sure it had “the mouth feel and texture” and cooked the same as real meat in how the “fat is released and it doesn’t stick to the pan”, Mr Hazell said.
The end result is something that Hungry Jack’s boss Mr Cowin says was good enough to fool him.
“We had a taste test recently in which I thought I had been tricked,” he said. “I thought it was beef but it wasn’t, it was the v2Food product.
“I’ve eaten a lot of beef hamburger patties in my day, and I couldn’t tell the difference.”
While v2Food will launch first in Hungry Jack’s, there are plans for it to be made available in supermarkets and other food outlets where it will have an appealing price point for consumers.
“We want to price the same as beef in whatever market that we operate,” Mr Hazell said. “So if it’s a burger it should be priced similar. If its mince in the retail it should be priced similar.
“And it has to be that because if we’re going to make a difference in the big picture, it’s just got to be everyday for meat eaters, it shouldn’t be a niche.
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“This has got to be something that everybody can choose if they want to reduce their meat consumption.”
V2Food’s launch comes as the vegan lifestyle is becoming an increasingly politicised and polarising issue in Australia.
Protests against meat consumption in major Australian cities and farm raids by vegan activists have provoked strong feelings on either side of the debate, but Mr Hazell says v2Food isn’t coming down on either side.
“Basically, we’re for meat eaters. Clearly vegans will buy our products because it happens to be vegan … I think it’s really important that we don’t get dogmatic here — this is about sustainability. The bigger picture here is that we need to be sustainable,” he said.
“We don’t want to be in that particular paradigm of vegan versus carnivore … this is about sustainability.”
News.com.au got the opportunity to sample v2Food’s products at its launch event in Sydney on Tuesday night, and boy, it lives up to the hype.
The first noticeable likeness was the smell, with hot dogs, “meat” pies, koftas, bao buns and meatballs being served. The aroma of meat — or in this case a meat substitute — was unmistakeable.
Next was the texture. I’m a regular meat eater and steak lover, and v2Food looked to me almost identical in appearance and felt like real meat as I chewed it.
V2Food also proved a hit with vegetarians in attendance, with one I spoke to remarking that the flavour and texture was noticeably better than other meat substitutes on the market.
There was also no losing that rich, juicy meat taste, and if I hadn’t been at the v2Food launch I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell it wasn’t the real thing.
Originally published as Hungry Jack’s suprising new vegan item