Return to News
Leaft Foods Announces R&D Grant from Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures

Press release 30/03/21

Leaft Foods Announces R&D Grant from Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor visited Leaft Foods today to reveal a 5-year research and development programme. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is contributing $8m through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, and Leaft Foods is investing $12m.

Canterbury, New Zealand (2pm 30th March 2021). The programme will develop technology that extracts edible protein from New Zealand grown green leafy crops. Leaft Foods seeks to produce high-quality protein ingredients for use in a range of food products across the rapidly growing global market for plant-based foods.

Leaft Foods’ innovation is the co-production of a low-emission animal feed, optimised for ruminant nutrition that could significantly reduce farm nitrogen losses. On-farm trials will demonstrate a viable pathway to adoption and commercial uptake for New Zealand farmers and credentialing the system’s economic and environmental benefits.

“We are building on New Zealand’s reputation as a trusted producer of high-quality protein. Our vision is to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural systems and to meet the increase in demand for plant proteins that align with consumer values,” says Maury Leyland Penno, Founder of Leaft Foods.

“More consumers are seeking out tasty and nutritious plant-based foods, which is apparent when you look at how supermarket shelves have changed over the past few years,” says Leyland Penno.

“Our mission is to demonstrate the viability of a sustainable and market-responsive farming system. Backing from MPI accelerates our ability to do that and places us in the leading pack of global food innovators.”

General Manager, Ross Milne, says they are now expanding on their successful preliminary research and “building an exceptional team of people” to deliver the pre-commercialisation programme.

Dr John Leyland Penno and Maury Leyland Penno founded Leaft Foods in August 2019. Ross Milne, the General Manager is supported by a growing team of food technologists, process engineers and farm systems technicians. The company is headquartered in Lincoln, Canterbury.