Software programmer turned tech food entrepreneur Shama Sukul Lee has won prestigious startup competition Start Tel Aviv.

The founder and chief executive of Sunfed Meats aims to disrupt the meat industry, not the environment and has since attracted a global team of UK, US and NZ investors raising $1.5 million.

As the receipent of the winning pitch, Lee will attend a five day all-expenses-paid-for trip to Tel Aviv where she will join local Israeli entrepreneurs to participate in lectures and workshops.

"I am honoured and excited to have this opportunity to be in the heart of innovation that is Tel Aviv", Lee said.


"It will be incredible to be immersed in that creative melting pot and experience the energy and passion of other entrepreneurs as well as connect with world-leading investors. This event will certainly help accelerate Sunfed's growth."

Sunfed Meats creates meat-free protein options from plants rather than animals.

Using clean technology and proprietary IP, the start up takes protein from plants to make a chunk of meaty protein which tastes, cooks and feels like meat but is healthier alternative and better for the environment.

The first product Sunfed Meats will release is a meat-free chicken replacement made from peas.

"I want to offer consumers what I'd like to eat," Lee said, "which is a delicious meaty bite that is clean and nutritious. And affordable."

Sunfed Meats was handpicked by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), featured at this year's Agribusiness Investment Showcase and has qualified for an Callaghan Innovation R&D grant.

Watch: Here's how Sunfed Meats creates meat-free alternatives: