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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government is partnering with Leaft Foods on a $20 million research and development programme that could put New Zealand on the map as a leading leaf protein concentrate producer.

 Through its Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures fund, the Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing $8 million to the five-year programme to develop technology that extracts edible protein from New Zealand grown green leafy crops.

Leaft Foods’ technology will be used to produce high-quality protein in the form of gels or powders that can be used in a range of foods in the fast-growing global market for plant proteins. The plant-based protein start-up will also produce an animal feed that is optimised for ruminant nutrition and has the potential to lower nitrogen losses and emissions on-farm.

“A growing number of global food manufacturers and consumers are demanding that their proteins come from a sustainable source,” said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

“This could be a game-changer for pastoral enterprises seeking to take environmental leadership, by providing them with a low impact, locally sourced feed, and the opportunity to diversify into low emission farm systems.

Leaft Foods’ programme aims to build on New Zealand’s reputation as a trusted exporter of high-quality protein, while reducing the environmental impact of agricultural systems. It aims to meet the increase in demand for plant proteins in a way that aligns with changing consumer values.

Damien O’Connor said that Leaft Foods is building a world-class team of experts to develop the technology. “We’re thrilled to be assisting them to expand and progress their successful laboratory and technical proof-of-concept trials.”

“This programme is a great example of the types of innovation and value-add we’re calling for through our food and fibre sector roadmap, Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our economic potential.”

Leaft Foods was founded by Dr John Leyland Penno and Maury Leyland Penno, and was launched in August 2019. The company is based in Lincoln, Canterbury.

MIL OSI