Fungi-Based Protein Gets a Trade Group￼
With fungi showing promise as a vegan protein alternative, category leaders have joined forces.
Leaders in the fungi-based protein sector have formed their own trade group. The Fungi Protein Association has launched with eight founding brand members and three think tank partners: Quorn, Enough, Nature’s Fynd, Mycorena, MyForest Foods, Bosque Foods, Aqua Cultured Foods, The Better Meat Co., The Protein Brewery, Prime Roots, Mush Foods, ProVeg, the Good Food Institute, and the Alternative Proteins Association.
Fungi range from mushrooms most often used in their whole form in culinary applications, to microbial, which are being used to produce a number of meat and dairy replacements.
‘The world needs more protein’
Fungi-based food show potential in the fight against climate change and addressing global food insecurity. A 20 percent increase in microbial protein in place of beef could reduce global deforestation by 50 percent, according to recent data.
“The world needs more protein, and fungi fermentation offers a delicious, sustainable way to do just that,” Marco Bertacca, Chief Executive Officer at Quorn Foods, said in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with our fellow fungi enthusiasts to raise awareness and appreciation of the wonderful ways fungi can improve human health and the health of our planet.”
A trade body already exists for plant-based food—The Plant Based Foods Association—but fungi, while often lumped into the category, are not plants. The trade body aims to shed more light on what makes fungi unique and beneficial.
Fungi category growth is mushrooming
The category has seen explosive growth in recent months. Founding member Enough partnered with Peace of Meat in May—it’s an offshoot of Israeli cultured meat start-up MeaTech. They’re working to blend fungi mycoprotein with cultivated fat to better reproduce the mouthfeel of conventional meat.
Earlier this year Mycorena partnered with packaging giant Tetra Pak to develop a new production facility for fungi fermentation.
Aqua Cultured Foods is also gearing up for a big product launch later this year—calamari-style fungi fries made via microbial fermentation technology.
Then, there’s Quorn, the U.K.-based category leader. Quorn is the leading meat substitute brand in Western Europe with a market share of more than 16 percent. It’s pulled in celebrity support, with daytime talk show host Drew Barrymore signing on as its ‘Chief Mom Officer’—aimed primarily at expanding its U.S. presence.
Earlier this week fast-casual chain Sweetgreen announced its first vegan protein in a partnership with mushroom-based company Meati (not yet a member of the FPA). That announcement followed the launch of Meati’s Carne Asada—its fourth product launch and first foray into steak.