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How are Meat Alternatives Affecting the Food Business?

Food and Beverages | Monday, July 13, 2020

Food manufacturers are hustling to bring new soy, wheat, and pea-based products in the market, few of the start-ups are putting in efforts to develop a new type of meal alternative from fungi.

FREMONT, CA: The future of meat processing does not involve plants, and companies are focusing on launching new alternatives. Two such emerging companies are gearing up to launch new products. One of those companies is working with culinary experts to ace its steak alternative, which will first be served in the restaurants in Colorado under the very new Meati brand. Another company, Prime Roots, is all set to launch its very first product this year. The company uses a Japanese fungus Koji, which was traditionally used to make soy sauce and sake create various types of seafood. Fungi have many advantages over plant-based proteins, and its fibrous texture allows a wide range of types and cuts of meat. The flavor is also very neutral, eliminating the need for any masking agent. Additionally, it requires only a small amount of land, water, and energy to produce with packs of nutrition that matches meat and other plants.

Fungi-based meat surpasses plants as they generally lose some of the nutrients that are naturally present in plant foods. Emergy Foods' and Prime Roots' products exceed the protein level of traditional meat while providing many of the fibers’, minerals, and vitamins found in plants. Using plant protein takes a lot of time to mitigate the consumers' concerns about the ultra-processed ingredients. Even educating the consumers on the differences between fungi-based and plant-based meats is also a challenging task. The FDA recently classifies that mushrooms and other fungi as plants technically constitute their kingdom different from both plants and animals.

Companies, such as Emergy Foods, are concentrating on launching its steaks in the foodservice channel, but they intend to introduce chicken breast down the line. They are focused on finding a plant-based protein source that is high in protein, nutritious, and has a bland or favourable flavor. The fundamental element to keep in mind is to evaluate how much protein can be produced based on the number of resources put in.

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