Ruffled feathers in chicken-free chicken spat

by Rob O'Neill / 16 November, 2017

Help us find and write the stories Kiwis need to read

RelatedArticlesModule - Sunfed

 The picture of the chicken on Sunfed Meat's Chicken free Chicken box has drawn the ire of the Poultry Industry Association. Photo / supplied

The poultry industry is crying foul over the way a new plant-based chicken product is being presented to consumers.

Sunfed Meats has found a willing market for its new “chicken free chicken” plant-based protein product, but the start-up is already facing a stoush with the poultry industry.

The New Zealand Poultry Industry Association is asking the Commerce Commission to look at whether Sunfed’s packaging and presentation of the product is misleading under the Fair Trading Act.

Sunfed founder Shama Lee is not impressed – especially as no consumers have actually complained.

“Look, we are a small Kiwi start-up that is all about empowering the consumer with new choices,” Lee says.

“To suggest consumers won’t know they are buying Sunfed chicken instead of animal chicken is selling them a bit short.

“I think we should call this what it is: a big industry showing its strength to a small start-up who have just been in the market for three months.”

Lee said the packaging was signed off by lawyers before launch.

“Obviously we are very happy to work with the Commerce Commission in good faith. We are not about misleading anyone.”

New Zealand Poultry Industry Association boss Michael Brooks says the complaint is not because Sunfed is having any market impact.

“We have record numbers of people eating real chicken,” he says. “We’re at 41.5kgs a person a year. That’s not the issue.

“It has a picture of a chicken on the front. It refers to ‘meaty chunks’ and in our view it’s not meat. You have a picture of a chicken but you're advertising a product that is not chicken.”

Brooks says there are regulations and the complaint is about making sure everyone is sticking to them.

“We are asking what are the laws and regulations in this context,” Brooks says.

“It seems a curious one when we have real chicken and then you have a synthetic product but with a picture of a chicken on the front and calling it chicken. That’s our enquiry.”

The association is also asking whether the product complies with labelling requirements in the ANZ Food Standards Code. Unlike in some overseas jurisdictions, the code is not prescriptive about the use of particular words such as “chicken” but does require labelling to be accurate.

Lee says the packaging clearly says “chicken free” and “clean lean plant protein” right in the front.

“I feel pretty confident we haven’t violated anything.”

“No one from the poultry industry has ever come to me to discuss this in good faith, instead they've opted to threaten in the media on taking us to the Commerce Commission and Ministry of Primary Industries.

“Frankly, it's a bully tactic. Yes we're the small vulnerable guys here, but we have full trust in the consumer to see this for what it is.”

 

Follow Noted on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Latest

Lauren Southern, Israel Folau and the problem with criticising religion
93915 2018-07-23 07:12:26Z Social issues

Lauren Southern, Israel Folau and the problem with…

by Graham Adams

Is there one rule for criticising Christianity and another for Islam?

Read more
Where should we draw the line between free speech and hate speech?
93928 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

Where should we draw the line between free speech …

by Karl du Fresne

A ban on two Canadian far-right activists speaking at Auckland Council venues has ignited the debate over hate speech and freedom of expression.

Read more
Is New Zealand a tolerant society?
93954 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

Is New Zealand a tolerant society?

by Karl du Fresne

Offences against religious minorities suggest an undercurrent of prejudice exists in the country.

Read more
Theresa May gets Trumped in London
93853 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z World

Theresa May gets Trumped in London

by Andrew Anthony

Notwithstanding the blimp, the presidential visit proved a deflating experience in the home of football.

Read more
Win a copy of The House of Islam by Ed Husain
93910 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z Win

Win a copy of The House of Islam by Ed Husain

by The Listener

The House of Islam tells the story of the Prophet, the origins of the Quran, the Sunni-Shia schism and sharia.

Read more
A NZ director goes inside the mind of groundbreaking Chinese designer Guo Pei
93826 2018-07-22 00:00:00Z Movies

A NZ director goes inside the mind of groundbreaki…

by David Larsen

NZ director Pietra Brettkelly goes into the opulent world of Chinese designer Guo Pei in the beautifully shot documentary, Yellow is Forbidden.

Read more
Is fake meat really a threat to New Zealand's economy?
93623 2018-07-22 00:00:00Z Economy

Is fake meat really a threat to New Zealand's econ…

by Rosie Bosworth

Rosie Bosworth looks at the risk to New Zealand's economy in a post-animal world of plant-based meat and dairy products.

Read more
What is fake meat made out of?
93642 2018-07-22 00:00:00Z Nutrition

What is fake meat made out of?

by The Listener

Meatless meat is yet to get a clean bill of health. This is what Joanna Blythman found when she studied the ingredients of an Impossible Burger patty.

Read more