China Food

Mushrooms save the world — mushrooms as leather, steak, sugar substitute and dog food······

how do mushrooms change the food system?
For thousands of years, mushrooms have been an important ingredient in international cuisine. At least 350 kinds of fungi have been collected and eaten all over the world, which is only a small part of the fungal world. China is the largest mushroom growing country in the world. Mushrooms have been used as traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Nowadays, more and more people take these humble mushrooms as one of the solutions for the future food system.
In recent years, foreign mushroom innovation industry start-ups have sprung up, involving in food, health products, fashion, packaging, housing construction, environmental protection and other categories and fields, showing a diversified development trend. Mushroom coffee, mushroom tea, mushroom leather and substitute sugar for food have set off an innovative revolution of “mushroom”.
Table: application data of mycelium source: CrunchBase, pitchbook, 35 bucket sorting
new material: ecovative – biodegradable material made from mushrooms
Mycelium generally exists in mushroom roots. It is the nutritional part of fungal or fungal like colonies and is composed of a large number of branched filamentous hyphae.
Ecovative is a biomaterials company focused on developing innovative materials from natural growth processes. The founders were Eben and Gavin McIntyre. Ecovative pioneered mycelia science and developed a completely shaped structure for the replacement of foam polystyrene. ® And other plastics, leather and livestock products. Mycelium can be used to manufacture new materials. The general process is: mix mycelium (mushroom root) and agricultural waste (such as corn shell), obtain the material with the desired shape after a four-day molding process, and then cover it with film to obtain the finished product. In the production process, fine-tuning parameters are allowed to adapt to the porosity, texture, strength, resilience, fiber orientation, etc. of different product materials.
Their zero sense of ecovative came from mushrooms growing on wood chips. Fungal hyphae firmly combined wood chips, which inspired them to think about new ways to use hyphae as resin. At first, they developed a new process to combine insulating materials to create greensulate ™, The invention not only reduced the influence of traditional polystyrene foam on the environment, but also created a completely new paradigm. In this paradigm, the composite material can truly grow by using the power of nature.
Ecovative has two patented technologies. MycoComposite ™ The technology produces biodegradable mushroom by using mycelial fibers combined with sustainable materials ® Packaging and environmentally friendly building materials. AirMycelium ™ Technology provides sustainable alternatives to leather, plastics and industrialized agriculture.
Shortly after the establishment of the company, they received small grants from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the National Union of University inventors and innovators (nciia). This money is used to create initial samples of materials. This proof of concept earned the company greater funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further develop products. Since then, ecovative has won more awards and grants to enable the company to continue to develop and accelerate the production of these revolutionary environmental materials.
So far, ecovative has completed 13 rounds of financing, with a total financing amount of US $90.1 million.
new protein: Atlas food — emerging as a substitute for meat
Using fungi to produce protein is a cutting-edge development direction, mainly because the new protein market has broad market prospects.
Atlas was incubated by the internal project of ecovative design company. It was officially established in 2020 and headquartered in New York, USA. At present, Eben Bayer is the CEO. Growing up on a farm in Vermont, Bayer is a pioneer in using mycelium protein to promote sustainable innovation in the industrial field. It has shared sustainable development, new building materials and innovative food for many times in Ted speeches and Davos forums.
Atlas brings innovation to the food industry by cultivating fungi, using a system that has been operating in our forests for millions of years. This new agricultural technology, with raw materials provided by mycelium, is not only expected to bring a delicious and healthy future, but also solve our current meat production problems. Atlas focuses on creating whole cut plant meat, such as bacon and steak. It is not only a B2B partner providing super ingredients of mycelium, but also launched the first bacon product for the public in the autumn of 2020.
The official website of atlas disclosed some of its technical details and production processes. The core is the technology called “solid-state fermentation”, that is, the mycelium is cultured in a fixed mold. Through solid-state fermentation, the mycelium can grow into any shape. Atlas has established a large indoor farm, which can simulate and reproduce the conditions required for mycelium growth underground.
Through this farming process, atlas can create super components of mycelium. Unlike other extruded and highly processed vegetable meat, this is an integral structure, which means that its processing characteristics are better. According to atlas, the mycelial super component tastes like meat because mycelial fibers grow together in tissue, which is similar to the fibrous network of animal muscle tissue (and therefore mimics its texture).
In April this year, Atlas announced the completion of a round of financing of US $40 million, led by Viking global investors. Atlas plans to use this round of funds to expand its business scale, including increasing investment in R & D, hiring more professionals and building a production base. Atlas said it will build the largest mycelial protein production facility in the United States.
In addition, prime roots, enough and meati foods are also developing fungal fermentation proteins, and fable food in Australia is developing mushroom based plant proteins. As a branch of new protein field, fungal protein has a great market.
coffee: four Sigma – refreshing but not nervous coffee

Founded in 2012, four Sigma has developed more than 30 products, sold in more than 6000 retail stores and in more than 65 countries / regions, serving 1 million consumers.
In October this year, four sigma launched two types of coffee, immune support ground coffee and perform ground coffee. The former is medium roasted coffee, which contains four immune support components: white birch antler, vitamin D, zinc and turkey tail mushroom. According to the company, vitamin D extracted from mushrooms provides 140% of the daily vitamin D required for immune system support. The latter is based on high-quality organic dark roasted beans, as well as cordyceps mushroom, coffee bean extract and L-theanine. It is designed for consumers seeking energy and productivity.
animal free leather: bolt threads – leather made from mycelium
Leather is a widely used material. However, obtaining leather from animals is a labor-intensive and inhumane process. With the increasing demand for sustainable and animal friendly products, animal leather is being excluded by more and more people. In the future, animal free leather will become the direction of more new material companies.
Bolt threads, a biomaterial company, is trying to reinvent this classic material with mycelium. The product is called Mylo.
In 2016, founder widmaer and his team developed a synthetic leather like biomaterial made of mycelium, a linear cell network forming the underground structure of mushrooms. To make Mylo, bolt designed the roots of mushrooms to grow into an interconnected 3D network, and then scientists processed, tanned and dyed them into finished leather like materials. Compared with traditional leather or synthetic leather production, this process not only takes less time and uses less resources, but also bolt supports traditional mushroom growers and tanners with decreasing business, teaching them to grow and process Mylo. Finally, the product is soft and durable, and its appearance and feel are very similar to traditional leather.
In April 2018, Stella McCartney used Mylo to create a prototype version of her falabella bag and appeared in the “fashionable from nature” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
To date, bolt threads has received US $218 million in financing.
Sugar substitutes: mycotechnology – use fungus based food processing platform to change the flavor and value of agricultural products
Mushrooms are also a kind of functional food. According to the existing research, they contain more than ten kinds of vitamins and minerals and a large number of antioxidants. Thousands of years of traditional medical practice has helped us prove many undiscovered potentials of mushrooms.
A typical representative in this regard is mycotech, a food technology start-up company from the United States. Mycotechnology, founded in 2013, is an American food technology company that uses a fungus based food processing platform to change the flavor and value of agricultural products.
When sugar substitutes were in the ascendant, mycotechnology proposed a new solution: cleartaste was made from the mycelium of mushrooms as a bitterness blocker. The company claimed that the product it developed was “the world’s first natural organic general bitterness blocker”, which could balance the bitterness and astringency of the product, so as to reduce the addition of sugar. Cleartaste can be used in beverages, baked goods and snacks, or as a dietary supplement. In addition, cleartaste can be listed as a natural flavor or natural extract. The company is also working with Naturex to launch a plant protein called puretaste. This ingredient fermented by peas, rice and mushrooms masks the taste, bad smell and aftertaste of pea protein, and adds a little taste of cereal food. At the same time, puretaste can be another protein source extracted from mushrooms.
Fungi are also used in the research and development of modern health products, such as four sigma, OM and mud / WTR.
pet food: Wild earth — reshaping the pet food industry with Biotechnology
A recent UCLA study calculated that the production of dog food and cat food produces 64 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, resulting in a 25% – 30% impact on the environment of U.S. meat consumption. More and more companies are developing new pet food.
Founded in 2017, wild earth is a company specializing in the development of protein pet food in the United States, jointly founded by Dr. Ron Shigeta, chief scientist, Ryan bethencourt, CEO and Dr. Ernie ward, known as the “American Pet advocate”. It is committed to reshaping pet food with science and providing healthier food for pets, which is more environmentally friendly and humanized than traditional products. Wild earth’s formula is mainly composed of a fungus named koji. This fungus has been accompanied by humans for thousands of years. It is ancient and mature. It is also used in weizeng soup and brewing soy sauce. It can provide 10 kinds of amino acids needed by dogs. “A common misconception is that dogs need animal meat in their diet, but what they really need is protein. Dogs can easily obtain protein from various plant and fungal sources. In fact, many people will be surprised to find that the fungal protein used by wild earth contains more protein per gram than beef,” said Dr. Ernie ward, chief veterinary officer of wild earth.
Wild earth has won wide praise from pet owners and investors for a series of successful meat free pet snacks, and has set its sights on creating 100% nutritious pet food, which is comparable to the best quality animal food on the market. At the same time, it has also broken the control of industrialized breeding and its destructive impact on pet health and environment.
Compared with the emerging mushroom Derivatives Innovation Industry in foreign countries, there are few domestic players, which are concentrated in food and beverage and lack of diversified innovation and development. In 2013, Jiangzhong group launched Jiangzhong Hougu biscuit. With the pharmaceutical standard and Hericium erinaceus as raw material, the first biscuit focusing on “nourishing the stomach” was developed and produced. In 2019, Ma Yinglong, a cross-border player, launched alternative meal drinks – black fungus dew and Tremella quinoa soup at Taobao’s “vegetable Tongbao flagship store”. The author found that the product has been taken off the shelves. The mushroom meat product “mushroom meat” of three squirrels is a fungus leisure snack. The raw material is rich in fiber mushroom feet, focusing on “compact meat feeling and meat like fiber”. The sales volume ranks high among dried vegetables.
Mushrooms touch many important aspects of modern life, from health to beauty, from breakfast to dinner, from forest to temple. The excellent characteristics of mushrooms will certainly make them sought after by agricultural and food enterprises in the future, although they will not appear as mushrooms themselves most of the time. Fungi have gone beyond the scope of cooking and entered a higher and more lasting category of productization and marketability.
Author: Meng Xing; Source: 35dou (ID: vcearth), reprint authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246);
join the community: Cherry (wechat: 15240428449). The registration channel for the new fourth Isee global food innovation award has been opened. The innovation model of global products / brands / technologies / enterprises / people, media communication, innovation Seeking and social experience marketing not only have competition, but also have content, communication, experience and social a6021
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