Can a fungus reduce added sugars?

Dive Brief:

  • A fungus root system may block naturally occurring bitter tastes in food and beverages. Typically, manufacturers have added sugars to mask the bitter tastes.
  • Startup MycoTechnology has created a flavorless bitter blocker for foods, using that root system. 
  • Mycelium powder is made into a liquid form and mixed into food products while they are being processed.

Dive Insight:

Health-conscious consumers are willing to part with artificial flavors and ingredients, but they don’t want to sacrifice taste. Many plant-based proteins, which are increasingly appearing in better-for-you-foods, come with bitter taste profiles.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans has recommended that no more than 10% of daily calories should come from added sugars. In May, the FDA ruled that all product labels will have to include how much sugar has been added per serving. 

In response to the attention to sugars and as part of the better-for-you food trend, consumers have been cutting back on their sugar intake. Manufacturers and retailers have responded with more sugar alternatives. Less sugary products are also finding their way to store shelves. 

The mushroom product by MycoTechnology offers an alternative to sweetener replacements like stevia-based products, which have a bitter aftertaste. The company has entered deals with large food companies worldwide including Ardent Mills, a large flour mill company; and GLG Life Tech, one of the largest producers of stevia, which wants to get rid of its product's aftertaste.