Mush Foods Targets ‘Hybrid Meat’ With Mycelium Protein That Blends With Beef
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On a mission to make meat hybrids mainstream, Israel-based Mush Foods is now offering a mushroom-derived 50CUT mycelium protein ingredient as a solution aimed at reducing animal protein in meat products.
Mush Foods says 50CUT serves as the perfect complement to beef and caters to carnivores and flexitarians who don’t want to compromise on taste, texture, and nutrition. The ingredient’s taste, formability, texture, aroma, and color are tailored specifically for blending with conventional beef, making it an ideal ingredient for a range of meat hybrids.
Food sidestreams make for more sustainable meat
Mush Foods uses a pioneering proprietary technology for upcycling food sidestreams from local manufacturers to grow the mycelium. The mycelium network is an underground system of fungi that breaks down forest plant matter and nourishes the mushrooms growing above ground as well as the surrounding ecosystem. Mush Foods’ fermentation platform recreates the underground growth conditions, without light and uses minimal land, energy, and water.
“Our mycelium ingredient is grown from food waste, making it highly sustainable and exerting a minimum carbon footprint,” Shalom Daniel, co-founder and CEO of Mush Foods, said in a statement. “It also grows exceptionally fast: While it takes a year to grow a cow, and four months to grow soy, it takes only eight-ten days to grow mycelium, making it a highly scalable — and affordable — option.”
Mycelium is a whole protein that contains all the essential amino acids, is rich in fiber and vitamins, and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. It also acts as a natural binder and possesses a natural umami flavor similar to meat, eliminating the need for masking agents or added flavors. Mycelium fibers maintain the volume of the ground meat matrix by absorbing the meat juices, further preserving flavor and making the addition of fillers such as texturized proteins unnecessary.
“In a world where we are seeing more flexitarians than ever before, the Mush Foods team is doing something very unique and forward-thinking by creating a meat hybrid product that delivers the protein and taste that people expect, while also reducing the environmental impact of beef production,” Brian Frank, co-founder and managing partner at FTW Ventures, said of its portfolio brand.
Clean label meat alternative
Mush Foods’ 50CUT ingredient is a clean-label, nutritious, and natural complement to beef that appeals to even the most devoted meat lovers. In November 2022, a pilot study of 4,000 participating employees drawn from various financial institutions in New York found that Mush Foods’ 50CUT hybrid beef and mycelium burger scored the highest out of 11 main dish options.
Mush Foods will be featured at the Future Food Tech event in San Francisco in March 2023, where Daniel will participate in a panel.
“This technology is truly remarkable, as it not only allows for a new protein source that is sustainable, nutritious, and clean-label, but it also allows for a new way to reimagine meat hybrids and the texture and flavor they deliver,” says Amir Zaidman, Chief Business Officer of The Kitchen FoodTech Hub. “For this reason, we are sure Mush Foods will be a gamechanger.”
The company isn’t the first to focus on reducing beef in meat products with mushroom-based fillers. The Better Meat Company has been working on it for years. But consumers have yet to embrace the trend. Mush Foods says it aims to change that.
“To make a true impact, the product must benefit consumers and food companies as well as restaurateurs,” says Daniel. “All are attuned to evolving food trends and do not want to compromise when seeking quality alternatives that are affordable, nutritious, tasty, and kind to the planet, Mush Foods ticks all the right boxes.”