Meet the Maker: Amino Mantra

Amino Mantra

Amino Mantra was founded by husband and wife team, chef Pritesh Kajaria and food scientist Dr Trang Duong-Kajaria in order to leave a lighter footprint on the planet.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

A chef and a food scientist fell in love and Amino Mantra was born. Through our years of experience in the food industry, we’ve seen the negative impacts that our modern eating habits have on our bodies and the environment. After we had our baby, we became determined to make a difference for ourselves and our next generation. We started practising a zero-waste lifestyle and learned how a plant-based diet can not only improve health and wellbeing but is also better for the environment.

Disappointed to discover that many plant-based food options on the market were full of processed ingredients such as extracted gluten, texture modified proteins, processed protein isolates and derived gums, we began making our own. Using our combined skills in food science and culinary art, we started to produce delicious, nutritious food that made us feel fantastic.

What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

Our current product range has five flavours of plant-based patties that are made with premium organic vegetables, legumes and seeds. They are Coeliac NZ certified gluten-free and also free from 11 common allergens –  Soy, Dairy, Tree-nuts, Peanuts, Sesame, Egg, Fish, Shellfish, Lupin, Sulphites, Pea Protein, preservatives, artificial flavours, processed starches and protein extracts/powders.

Made with minimally processed ingredients, they are quick to cook in five minutes and very easy to digest. Designed keeping gut health in mind, they contain essential amino acids, dietary fibres, and good fatty acids. While our plant patties are nutritionally complete to help you transition to a plant-based diet, they do not mimic textures or flavours of animal proteins.

Our packaging is 100% compostable. Inner vacuum bags are made with innovative bioplastics that are home and commercially compostable in the presence of heat, water, oxygen, soil and micro-organisms. The outer box is commercially compostable as well as recyclable, inks are made with vegetable-oil extracts, and tamper-proof seals and stickers on the box are made with commercially compostable cornstarch.

Has there been any recent company news?

We have set up our own allergen-controlled production facility in Rosedale incorporating zero-waste principles wherever possible. Our Fijian Turmeric & Cumin plant patties was a finalist in the NZ Food Awards in 2 categories – Health & Wellbeing Award and Short Shelf-life Product Award. Our outer box won the Gold Award in Pride in Print 2019 Awards. Our brand design also won the Gold Award in Design NZ 2019 Awards.

We have also expanded our team to add Ashinka Gomes – experienced chef and entrepreneur as our Operations Manager. Ashinka brings his unique take on flavours and efficient operations techniques.

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

We aim to reach premium New World stores in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch by the end of 2021, plus we are doing research and development on other variants of plant-based patties and beverages.

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated? 

Our products are currently available to buy at Farro Fresh stores, Simply Fresh, The Island Grocer and select New World stores in Auckland. We also sell at Grey Lynn Farmers Market on Sundays, on our online store and regularly supply to My Food Bag.

We are interested in collaborating with other food subscription services that are looking to cater to the growing demand for plant-based products. We would like to see our products situated in the premium alternative protein category in the chilled section of top tier New World stores.