- Kellogg's venture capital fund, eighteen94 capital, has participated in a round of investment funding for MycoTechnology, a Colorado-based organic food technology company. The $35-million round was led by S2G Ventures, with Bunge Ventures and Emerson Collective as co-leads, according to Food Business News.
- The four-year-old firm's major products are a bitter blocker called ClearTaste and a vegan Shiitake mushroom-based protein called PureTaste. The latter is said to be low in calories, fat and carbohydrates, and high in vitamins and minerals, while the former could reduce the need in certain food products for sugar or other sweeteners.
- “MycoTechnology is doing important work to ensure that a sustainable, edible protein source is more widely available to consumers,” Simon Burton, managing director of eighteen94 capital, said in a statement. “They are committed to addressing consumer demand for a great-tasting, protein-rich product and we’re very excited to partner with them.”
Kellogg's venture capital fund was one of about a dozen participants in this funding round for MycoTechnology, which plans to use some of the investment to build a commercial production facility in Aurora, CO, to manufacture up to 4,000 tons of its protein product annually.
Plant-based protein is a high-growth area in the food industry, and Kellogg could be eyeing PureTaste as a potential functional ingredient to add to its morning foods lineup. At the same time, consumers are getting maxed out on common protein sources and may be looking for something more trendy and exotic.
MycoTechnology Co-Founder and CEO Alan Hahn indicated he has larger goals in mind — namely, global survival. “We are rapidly approaching a time where we will be unable to support the population with enough protein to sustain life,” he said in a statement. “Our discovery and commercialization of PureTaste protein solves the challenges of feeding an exponentially growing population with a highly sustainable protein source but does not compromise on taste, which is the No. 1 challenge with consumer acceptance."
Mushrooms are considered a superfood today and are used in many products, including medicines. Another mushroom-based company, Four Sigmatic (formerly Four Sigma Foods), includes them in coffees, elixirs, lemonade and super blends of various mushrooms.
It will take time to see whether mushroom-based proteins will catch on in a big way with consumers, but Hahn's startup now has $35 million more to try and find out if it can scale up its business — and consumers' appetites.