Swedish startup Mycorena broadens its fungi-powered portfolio with a “breakthrough” fat ingredient that can help producers make juicy vegan steaks.
Mycorena has “cracked the code” to fungi-powered fats, which will help plant-based meat producers achieve the taste and textural complexities of the meat-eating experience. The new ingredient is designed to recreate the “profile of sensations that you would find in a juicy steak,” and will help “take plant-based meat to a new level”.
The Swedish food tech says that this ingredient could replace the use of coconut oil and other vegetable-based oils currently found in many plant-based meat substitutes. Some consumers have found that coconut oil leaves behind an off-putting taste, while vegetable oils pose functionality issues for producers, due to its low melting points and flatter flavour profile compared to animal-based fats.
Thanks to its fungi-powered proprietary technology, Mycorena’s fat releases the flavour in a similar way to animal-based fats, during the cooking process and the eating experience.
“The point is that the flavor in animal fat is released when we cook our meat, in turn dispersing its flavors to give you that tasty experience of the whole meat,” says Mycorena chief innovation officer Dr. Paulo Teixeira. “We’re excited to bring fungi beyond mycoprotein.”
Applications in alt-protein
At the moment, Mycorena is testing its fungi-based fat ingredient in a number of food products, including its mycoprotein burger patties, chicken fillets and whole-cut alternative meats. After demonstrating the product, the startup says it will start opening up the ingredient via a B2B approach with plant-based meat producers, enabling brands to elevate the taste and texture of their products.
“We want to integrate our customers into our beta-testing program as soon as possible, where they can get access to test our solution already within the next few months,” explained Teixeira.
The news comes shortly after Mycorena began constructing its new Falkenberg-based factory in Sweden, which will produce “several thousand tons” of its Promyc mycoprotein product by 2022. It is aimed at replacing the use of soy protein in vegan meat analogues, and is set to launch through partnerships with other food companies in Sweden and around the world.
While still a small group, there are a growing number of startups innovating fat ingredients to enable better-tasting and more realistic alternative proteins.
Melt&Marble and Nourish Ingredients, for instance, are using precision fermentation technology to “brew” novel animal-free fats that are identical to the real deal, which can be incorporated into both vegan and cell-based meat analogues. Nourish has already teamed up with cultured exotic meats maker Vow Food to develop first-of-a-kind fermentation-cultivated hybrid alternatives.
All images courtesy of Mycorena.