Food & Drinks

You won't believe it's not actually meat! Chicken Free Chicken is coming to a Coles supermarket near you

This product is seriously genius.

By Rebecca Sullivan
Like flossing our teeth and eating our leafy greens, consuming less meat is one of those things that we know we should be be doing, but somehow it always falls by the wayside.
Now the launch of a brand new meat-free product, which will be stocked in Coles supermarkets from this week, promises to make it easier for Australians to embrace a flexitarian diet and for vegetarians to get a break from a constant diet of tofu and chickpeas.
And seeing as it's actually World Meat-Free Meek from today, Monday June 17, what better time to embrace this excellent meat-free alternative?
Sunfed's Chicken Free Chicken is a new protein product from New Zealand brand Sunfed Meats, which looks and tastes exactly like chicken.
It's been tested in the New Zealand market for a while now and consistently sells out there - and it's expected to also be super popular with Australians.
Chicken Free Chicken contains mostly yellow pea protein and water and contains no gluten, soy or preservatives.
At $11 for 300g, it's a lot more expensive than chicken breasts or thighs, but its creators say that price reflects the premium nature of the product.
This stir fry looks like it's got chicken in it, but it's actually a new meat-free alternative. (Image: Instagram @sunfedmeats)
Sunfed Meats' founder and CEO Shama Sukul Lee claims the product has double the protein of chicken and triple the iron of beef, something she says took four years to perfect.
"I was a big meat eater. I like the taste and texture of meat and grew up eating meat. But when I learnt about the impact on the environment and tried to reduce my consumption, it was tricky for me to find suitable alternatives," Ms Lee told Now To Love.
"I'm a big clean eater and trying to find clean sources of protein is hard. My body does well on a high protein, high vegetable diet, but I couldn't find anything on the market I could replace meat with," she said.
When you look at the product up close, it has the similar fibrous texture of chicken breast. (Image: Instagram @sunfedmeats)
Here chicken-free chicken has been used to create a "meat" patty on a vegetarian burger. (Image: Instagram @sunfedmeats)
Many meat substitutes often use soy or are heavily processed and contain lots of preservatives, but Sunfed set out to make a healthy protein substitute that would appease even the strictest of health nuts.
"I made something I really wanted to eat – a very lean, clean piece of protein that has that meaty texture and minimal ingredients," Shama said.
"It's made mostly from pea protein. If you look at a lean piece of meat, it's 75 per cent water, 20 per cent protein and five per cent fat and carbs. Once I broke down the structure we were able to recreate something similar using that formula.
"It took us four to five years to get it right, because we wanted to get that meaty texture. It's the first in the world to make a whole piece of fleshy meat with long, succulent fibres."
WATCH BELOW: Want to eat less meat? Here's everything you need to know about the "flexitarian" diet. Story continues after video.
More Australians than ever before are embracing a vegetarian diet.
An IBISWorld study released in April found sales of vegan food products have soared over the past five years in Australia and more than two million Australians are now meat-free, according to 2018 data.
A 2016 poll of Australians found 11.2 per cent of respondents agreed that "The food I eat is all, or almost all, vegetarian".
Just like regular chicken, this new Chicken-Free Chicken can be grilled or pan-fried, baked or poached. (Image: Instagram @sunfedmeats)
As well as health concerns - studies have repeatedly shown that cutting down on meat consumption is better for us - increased education around the environmental benefits of quitting meat has motivated a new generation of sustainability-focused consumers to go meat-free during some days of the week, or altogether.