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Tag: Veganism

Marian Johnson

The Influencers: Marian Johnson

One of the best parts of my job is getting to meet talented entrepreneurs and helping them succeed. And that’s exactly what the whole team got to do last week at the Pressure Cooker final of FoodStarter 2019 – a national competition looking for the most innovative food and beverage startups in New Zealand.


Ministry of Awesome Chief Awesome Officer

There were five talented startups who made the cut on Wednesday night from a total of 121 entries from all over New Zealand. The judging panel got to taste some seriously delicious vegan Kiwi Dip, the creamiest sheep’s milk yoghurt, flavourful vegan pastrami, dainty pre-biotic pudding, and the most amazing vegan sausage we have ever had the good fortune to experience. And – you guessed it – the winner was Ananda Simply Wholefoods with their spicy vegan sausage that was simply outstanding.

Locally sourced, plant-based, dairy and gluten free was definitely the theme of this year’s competition, nicely summed up by one of the competitors, Paul Seymour, whose presentation began with the statement ‘Veganism is the greatest social revolution in the history of the world!”

Ananda now goes on to win the $75,000 FoodStarter business incubation package whose main prize is the holy grail for most food startups – full distribution of their product across the Foodstuffs South Island retail network, courtesy of New World. They’ll also get a full brand review from Strategy Advertising, everything they need to scale to retail production from FoodSouth, and business mentorship and commercialisation how-to from our team at Ministry of Awesome.







Powerful Plants

Edgy fast-food outlet Hell Pizza pulled a cheeky stunt recently, announcing that its new ‘Burger Pizza’ contained a pea-protein meat substitute by the culinary innovators at Beyond Meat. Opening minds and causing quite the debate in the process, this social experiment reiterated that nationally, plant-based foods are growing in popularity. We check out some of our favourite easy alternatives to meat.




Pulled jackfruit: Best known for its likeness to pulled pork in both texture and taste, marinated pulled jackfruit is the perfect vegan filling for wraps, tacos, nachos, burgers… the list is endless!

Nut roast: Great served hot or cold, this nutty loaf can use almost any type of nuts and is packed full of protein, fibre and healthy fat. Check out a top-notch recipe over at

Bean burgers: Looking for meat-free patties for the barbie? Quick, easy, inexpensive and adaptable, bean burgers are delicious, not to mention full of healthy nutrients. With a myriad of vegan/vegetarian recipes online, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Quorn: This protein-packed beauty has been one of the most popular meat substitutes since the dawn of meat alternatives – and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Derived from an edible fungus known as mycoprotein, quorn is perfect for virtually any recipe that uses chicken, from curries and stir-fries to ‘chicken’ nuggets and kebabs.

Tempeh: Tempeh is the new tofu – reasonably priced (Asian supermarkets are your best bet), very high in protein (31 grams per cup!) and incredibly versatile. Make your own smoky, crispy tempeh bacon using a simple marinade – vegan BLTs, we’re looking at you!