For the past 50 years, food innovation has focused on supply chain and shelf-life extension to provide nutrition and food security for a growing urbanized population. Traditionally, food scientists have concentrated on developing additives to achieve those goals.
Today’s consumers want foods with short, wholesome ingredient lists conveniently packaged to meet an active, on-the-go lifestyle. They want food products that feel made from scratch without having to cook from scratch.
That’s a significant shift for CPG companies that must balance consumer choices, supply chain considerations and ingredient costs.
MycoTechnology is turning to nature for new solutions by tapping into the fungi kingdom. Here’s a look at how fungi, mycelia and fermentation offer cutting-edge opportunities for CPGs to deliver on consumer expectations.
Tapping into Nature’s Fifth Kingdom
The fungal kingdom, which includes mushrooms, truffles and other less familiar fungi, offers endless culinary possibilities. Mushrooms have complex root networks known as mycelia, which break down organic matter and convert it into valuable nutrients that the mushroom can absorb and utilize.
Mushroom mycelia have up to 500 times more digestive enzymes than humans, allowing them to digest and recycle materials in their surroundings, which helps to produce fresh soil every year.
This enzymatic diversity allows mycelia to consume various substances and thrive in varied environments. As mycelia grow and spread, they continually adapt and communicate with their environment.
Mushrooms are taking root as an “ingredient of the future” in a wide range of sustainable items made for human consumption. For example, the fashion, furniture and construction industries are using mushrooms to develop more sustainable products.
Harnessing mycelial capabilities
MycoTechnology, Inc., is harnessing the capabilities of fungi to create innovative food solutions that improve the taste and nutrition of better-for-you foods.
“These new tools will allow companies to create new food experiences, rather than trying to replicate what’s already been done,” said Jonas Feliciano, marketing director, MycoTechnology, Inc.
MycoTechnology, Inc.’s mycelial fermentation platform allows for continuous adjustment to the environment and growing conditions to optimize fermentation for the intended goal — the development of premium ingredients that solve a wide variety of food system challenges, targeting factors such as taste, texture, nutrition, sustainability and food security.
Leveraging nature to improve foods
Replicating nature inside the fermentation tank creates endless opportunities to produce better ingredients for more nutritious and tastier foods. Currently, MycoTechnology, Inc., offers two product lines derived from mycelial fermentation:
ClearIQTM natural flavor is a line of flavor modifiers that helps improve taste by reducing harsh notes such as bitterness and boosting desirable flavors such as citrus, berry, umami and roasted notes. By preventing the perception of undesirable flavors, these tools can eliminate challenging off-notes and enhance beneficial flavors to deliver better-tasting products with a balanced flavor profile.
FermentIQTM protein is a line of pea or pea-and-rice protein blends fermented by shiitake mycelia. The result is a plant protein with a more neutral taste profile, improved texture and functional properties that make it easier to work with, enabling formulators to elevate, rather than replicate, meat and dairy alternatives.
New solutions, including a sweetener derived from honey truffles, are also on the horizon. MycoTechnology, Inc., has identified the protein responsible for the honey truffle’s sweet taste and produced a clean-tasting, next-generation sweetener using fermentation technologies.
Collectively, these products offer new ways to create delicious, nutritious foods that address complex food system challenges around the globe.
Selling the value-added benefit
While some plant-based foods have struggled to catch on, premium plant-based products have done well. Understanding what plant-based consumers want is essential to launching a successful product. They want options that are nutritionally superior to animal-based alternatives, and they are willing to pay more for better-for-you foods.
Enter mycelia-fermented flavor modifiers and plant proteins that meet customer expectations and add value when used as functional ingredients in plant-based foods, snacks, beverages and supplements.
“People are leaning into products that have positive connotations and that feel healthy,” said Caroline Schwarzman, director of commercialization and growth strategy, MycoTechnology, Inc. “MycoTechnology’s fungi-derived ingredients unlock value for the market, satisfying consumer demand for healthier, better-tasting foods from nature.”
To learn more, visit MycoTechnology.