"Chicken-Free Chicken" maker Sunfed Foods says it has raised $10 million in a Series A funding found.

The Auckland-based startup sells a chicken-substitute made from chickpeas.

The round was led by Australian venture capital fund Blackbird Ventures, which now holds an 11 per cent stake.

Sir Stephen Tindall's K1W1 fund (5 per cent) and the taxpayer - via the Crown-backed New Zealand Venture Investment Fund, which now owns 1.4% - also participated in the round.


Sunfed co-founders Shama and Hayden Lee remain the largest shareholders with a combined 58 per cent stake.

The pair offered no financials today, but say their Chicken Free Chicken product has proven itself in both major supermarket chains and will shortly be followed by a new Bull-Free Beef product that they say will have a "realistic meaty texture."

Bacon-Free Bacon is also on the way.

The Series A funds will be used to increase production and to expand into Australia, the Shama Lee says.

Air New Zealand recently caused controversy by putting the imitation beef Impossible Burger on its inflight menu.

National's Nathan Guy took offence on behalf of the red meat industry, but social media reaction was broadly positive.

New Sunfed investor Tindall says, "As eating habits change and as desire increases for greater choice when selecting sources of food, we see alternative proteins like Sunfed playing a large part in consumers' lives. We are very excited to be able to play a part in the Sunfed journey."

Blackbird Ventures partner Samantha Wong says, "We have been studying the future of food for some time and it is a theme we are extremely excited to be investing in. We found Shama's mission-driven approach and relentless focus on the customer has resulted in a product that even the most committed carnivores would enjoy. We look forward to more people around the world being able to enjoy Sunfed."