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U.S. alt-meat startup Meati Foods recently announced it was taking pre-orders for its mycelium meat products. Chicken Cutlets and Crispy Cutlets were made available via direct-to-consumer pre-sales with all available items being allocated in under 24 hours. Within the first hour, 1,116 cutlets were sold to the company’ email subscribers.
Following on from the success of the pre-order, Meati has announced that cutlets will be restocked soon. A third release, in the form of a realistic steak analogue, will launch imminently as well. All are created using the company’s proprietary mycelium protein, which is manufactured via submerged fermentation.
The famous $1 billion quote
News of Meati selling out its full pre-order inventory lends weight to the new president’s recent ambitious declaration. Scott Tassani joined Meati with three decades of food industry experience. A former senior management executive at General Mills, he jumped into his new position with a bold aim of reaching $1 billion in sales by 2025.
“Meati products are far superior to any alternative proteins available, making it possible to deliver a superior consumer experience while driving significant sustainability impact, and partner with our customers to profitably lead industry growth,” Tassani said in a statement.
The appointment of Tassani followed a $50 million Series B round in July 2021. Funds were earmarked for construction of a new factory, ahead of commercial launch this year. Both plans have been realised, giving pause to consider if Tassani’s predictions will also come to fruition.
Plant-based meat of a different nature
As the vegan meat competition heats up, an increasing number of companies are seeking to move away from processed and additive-heavy analogues. Sustainable protein sources and clean labels are the new must-have attributes. Meati claims to tick both boxes, with its non-GMO mycelium that is simply ‘tuned’ to replicate the taste and texture of conventional meat, during the fermentation process. There’s no hoodwinking about the star of the show, or corporate wordplay to confuse consumers about what they’re eating.
“We like to be open and transparent [with ingredient listing], Dr Taylor Huggins, CEO of Meati told Foodnavigator-USA. “I don’t think we’ll go the route of trademarking an ingredient name, we feel like that might make consumers feel like we’re hiding something. We want people to know exactly what it is. It’s Mycelium, and it’s a magical thing.”
The marvellous world of mycelium meat
One of the few to be using submerged fermentation, Meati is not alone in recognising the possibilities of mycelium.
US-based MyForest Foods underwent a rebrand from Atlast Food Co last month, ahead of commercial scaling. Choosing a name that felt more akin to the ingredient that was at the centre of developments, the company spoke at the time of showing respect to nature. The rebrand followed a new partnership with Canada’s Whitecrest Mushrooms, which is designed to help increase production of the signature mycelium MyBacon product.
Last June, Better Meat Co revealed that it had opened a large new facility that would be able to produce “thousands of pounds” of its signature mycoprotein. Dubbed ‘Rhiza’, the animal-free protein will be made available on a B2B basis, to food manufacturers developing meat-free foods. Better Meat already worked with ingredients such as peas, bamboo and algae but Rhiza is the first fungi-based option.
Natures Fynd revealed a $350 million Series C raise in July 2021. The investment was earmarked for bringing proprietary fungi protein to market in 2022. Called ‘Fy’, the protein is grown using fermentation technology and is being scaled to commercial levels.
Lead photo by Meati Foods.