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NEXT! Foods will launch its ‘super realistic’ vegan chicken in New Zealand next year.

The company- which recently debuted its crispy vegan bacon – says its plant-based Chick’n Chunks are ‘delicious, healthy and versatile’. 

Further details of the launch are yet to be announced.

‘Incredible technological innovation’

In a statement sent to Plant Based News, co-founder Biren Doshi said: “Over the past year, we have seen incredible technological innovation in the plant-based food industry. The quality of products and their likeness to animal-based meat is astonishing.

“The plant-based meat industry and the technology involved is just getting started, which is extremely exciting. If I had to predict what the future might hold, I would say that the lines between meat and meat-free products will become more and more seamless. 

“Prices will continue to come down as the technology develops and larger numbers of stores bow to pressure from consumers. In years to come, I don’t think we’ll even be talking about plant-based versus meat in the same way – it will simply be an accepted, commonplace choice, in the same way than any of the traditional proteins are.”

A ‘surge’ in reducetarians 

Speaking about how the COVID-19 pandemic has ‘accelerated the plant-based trend’, Doshi also predicts that New Zealand will see a surge of reducetarians and flexitarians.

“In New Zealand alone, I would estimate that the plant-based meat market has already grown from next to nothing to $30-40 million annually,” he said.

“There has been increased consumer interest in healthier eating in general, as a result of the pandemic, and that combined with innovation and the development of more great-tasting meat alternatives for consumers to choose from, has led to a boom in plant-based meats. 

“Shoppers are also looking for ways to show compassion and make a positive difference, during what has been a difficult, tumultuous time. Reducing animal protein may be seen as a way of tackling the climate crisis and showing compassion for nature, alongside the perceived health benefits.”

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Liam Giliver

Liam is the former Deputy Editor of Plant Based News. He has written for The Independent, Huffington Post, Attitude Magazine, and more. He is also the author of 'We're Worried About Him'.