News that Coles has added a new mince product to its shelves might not sound like a big deal, but in this case, it really is. Yes, Aussie brand v2food’s 250g pack of mince looks, tastes and can be cooked just like any other meat — except that it’s not meat at all.
Instead, ‘v2mince’ is made entirely from plants, making it a great option for vegans and vegetarians but also those shoppers looking to lower their consumption of red meat without compromising on flavour.
Nick Hazell, CEO and founder of v2food, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the brand’s mince ticks a lot of boxes for a variety of different customer concerns from health to sustainability, animal welfare and, less obviously, finances.
“No one ever really mentions the cost but meat is one of the most expensive things in your grocery basket,” he says.
“We’re already seeing people moving away from meat due to the cost and for us, it’s really important to be the same price or cheaper than meat.”
Making plant-based alternatives affordable and accessible at major supermarkets such as Woolies and, as of Wednesday, Coles is not only a win for shoppers but also for the environment.
“If we carry on exclusively eating animal meat, or increase our consumption, we will run out of viable land to grow the grains to feed the cattle and pigs that we are eating,” he explains.
That’s not the only problem. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation and biodiversity loss worldwide. Growing plants to make meat allows us to take CO2 out of the air and put it back in the soil to directly tackle climate change.
Nick says that the goal is to one day have v2mince and the brand’s other plant-based product, v2burger patties, sold in the meat section of the supermarket rather than a separate section in the cold aisle.
But Nick and v2food aren’t on a mission to turn the world into vegans — on the contrary, they love meat. They just want to reduce how much of it we’re eating.
“We’re not about destroying the meat industry, we’re about collaborating and working together so we can make another planet’s worth of meat by 2050 because our current global consumption is just not sustainable.”
What’s so special about 2050? That’s when the global population is expected to reach 10 billion, which is a lot of hungry mouths to feed with a limited supply of meat. The solution? Make more out of plants.
Growing plants also directly tackles climate change by removing some of the CO2 from the air that’s produced by animal agriculture.
According to Nick, v2food’s meat-free meat is so similar to the real thing that some people don’t even realise they’re chowing down on plants.
But you don’t have to take his word for it — v2mince was one of just eight vegetarian or plant-based products to be awarded 2021 Product of the Year, as voted for by over 9,000 Aussie shoppers.
The success of v2food’s mince after just a year on the market took Product of the Year Director, Sarah Connelly, by surprise.
“We had a plant-based milk [on the POTY list] a few years back but it kind of disappeared but this year every other entry was a plant based alternative,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Sarah puts this in part down to COVID-19 which saw many well-know, traditional foods and brands cleared from shelves amid panic-buying, forcing some shoppers to branch out and try something new.
“Consumers in many ways have been forced to make changes [so] new, smaller brands have been given the opportunity to shine,” she explains.
Coles stocks v2mince in 250g portions ($5) as well as an exclusive 750g pack ($11) and packs of 4 x v2burgers ($9) in over 800 stores across Australia.
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