Rise of v2, Fable vegan meat with mushrooms offers a more sustainable diet

A new burger is being bought by restaurant chains across the country and it is proving “very profitable”.

As a child, Michael Fox wrote a song called “Steak of Glory”. He was a meat-loving Queenslander who, like the average Aussie, ate at least 110 kg of meat each year.

But in his 30s, he had an epiphany, seeing how unbearable it was for us to eat meat at our own pace. Raising animals for food requires large amounts of land and water, leading to problems such as deforestation and water degradation. It also strongly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.

“The problem is, the meat is so good,” Mr. Fox said. “I stopped eating it, but it was a 10 year journey to become completely vegan. As part of this [journey] I wanted to develop a meat alternative that conforms to my diet, which consists of a lot of healthy and whole foods. “

Enter the mushrooms – and a partnership with two other vegetable fanatics, Jim Fuller and organic mushroom grower Chris McLoghlin.

“Jim is the only man in the world who is a mushroom specialist and a gourmet chef,” said Michael.

It was thanks to Mr. Fuller that Fable, the meat-like mushroom food created by the team, ended up in the hands of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal.

“He loved it, and with Heston as an advocate, it helped spread the culinary credentials that he tastes good,” Mr. Fox said.

Fable was officially launched in December 2019 and has already found its way into chains Guzman and Gomez, Gate and a long list of gourmet restaurants. It’s also on the menu in the UK, Singapore and North America.

“Our goal is to grow nationally and internationally next year,” Fox said. “Fable becomes very profitable. People eat food based on taste and price and the idea is that we are creating something that tastes better and is cheaper than meat. In the end, people will have no reason to eat meat.

v2Food, an Australian partnership between Hungry Jacks fast food chain founder Jack Cowin and CSIRO, is another alternative meat company looking to take a bigger share of the meat market.

After its launch in 2019, it is already selling its Rebel Whopper Burgers, based on vegetable pancakes v2, at Hungry Jacks as well as its range of products, including sausages and vegetable mince, in supermarkets.

However, the company is firmly aiming for an even bigger goal than Australia. It is fast becoming the largest meat consuming country in the world, China.

“We have seen tremendous growth in Asia,” said Nick Hazell, CEO of v2Food. “V2food entered the Chinese market in August of this year with its first batch of products, including a new iteration of our v2mine, pork-like version.

“China has the largest population in the world and has the opportunity to have a significant positive impact on the future of our planet, which is why it is also a major target for the growth of v2food.”

While the country’s meat market shows no signs of slowing down, its “meatless” market has also grown 33.5% since 2014 to reach $ 9.7 billion in 2018, according to Euromonitor. He predicts the industry will be worth $ 11.9 billion by 2023.

Mr Hazell explains how V2 is marketed differently from other meat substitutes and the focus is on meat eaters rather than vegetarians.

“We chose to focus on the 99% who are meat lovers rather than the 1% who are vegans,” he said. Indeed, after joining the start-up in 2019, Nick himself remained a meat eater.

“All the other companies have posed the problem like, ‘There aren’t enough vegans, all we need to do is convert people to veganism.’ But that’s not the problem, ”he said. “The problem is, we eat too much meat. I am a meat eater and I don’t want to stop eating meat. I want to make a choice.

Emma Levett is a freelance writer.

This content is created in sponsorship with Volvo.