Female Entrepreneur Raises $10 Million to Create Vegan Bacon and Chicken from Peas

Shama Lee, the co-founder of New Zealand vegan meat business Sunfed Meats, has raised $10 million in Series A Funding for the brand’s expansion into Australia and beyond.

Launched in 2017, Auckland-based Sunfed’s meat-free meats mimic the feel and taste of traditional meat, but without the health and environmental consequences. Its vegan Chicken-Free Chicken, and its most recently launched product the Bull-Free Burger, are created out of pea protein; Bacon-Free Bacon is also reportedly in development.

Speaking to Idealog at the beginning of the year, Lee explained, “I started Sunfed because I felt people didn’t have choice when it came to their protein, and I felt that if there was a good choice, they would consider it.”

In the past year, the brand has leaped from strength to strength, launching in New Zealand’s leading supermarket chain, Countdown Supermarkets as well as in BP Petrol Stations.


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JERK SUNFED CHICKEN FREE CHICKEN BURGERS ? . WINNER of the Sunfed Recipe Competition by Mel Chrisp of @freshhealthyyum!! ✨ . Quick. Easy. Delicious! ? #glutenfree #vegan #cleanleanprotein . SERVES: 3 INGREDIENTS ☘️ 1/2 a pack of @sunfedmeats Chicken Free Chicken 1/2 a cup of @barkersofgeraldine BBQ Jerk Sauce 1 Tbs Olive Oil 3 @venerdi GF Sweet Potato Sourdough Buns 1 Avocado, sliced 1 Tomato, sliced 1 Cucumber, peeled into ribbons 1 Carrot, peeled into ribbons 1 Baby Cos Lettuce 1 cup Alfalfa Sprouts 3 Tbs @ceresorganics Vegan Mayo METHOD 1. Prepare your salad ingredients 2. Shred Sunfed Chicken Free Chicken 3. Heat Oil in a frypan over a medium heat. 4. Add Sunfed Chicken and BBQ Jerk Sauce and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. 5. Toast your Buns. 6. Assemble Burger in this order; Jerk Sunfed Chicken, Avocado, Tomato, Cucumber & Carrot Ribbons, Alfalfa, Cos Lettuce and Mayo. That’s it! Enjoy ? . sunfedmeats.com/buy ☀️

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“Sunfed is about empowering everyone with choices,” Lee added. “The rest is up to them. If the choice we provide is good, people will value it. Sunfed is built on three axioms – good for us, good for the planet, good for the animals. And people seem to resonate with that.”

Blackbird Ventures – an Australian Venture Capital Fund – led the Series A round, now holding an 11 percent stake in the business. Entrepreneur Sir Stephen Tindall, the founder of New Zealand retailer The Warehouse, also participated; his K1W1 fund now holds a 5 percent stake, and the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund now owns 1.4 percent.

Lee and husband Hayden remain the largest shareholders, with 58 percent of the company.

“We have been studying the future of food for some time and it is a theme we are extremely excited to be investing in,” Samantha Wong, a partner at Blackbird Ventures, told the New Zealand Herald.

“We found Shama’s mission-driven approach and relentless focus on the customer has resulted in a product that even the most committed carnivores would enjoy. We look forward to more people around the world being able to enjoy Sunfed.”

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