The campaign to promote veganism by exposing the destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

A MEATI FUNGUS: Startup says mushrooms will take fake meat closer to real thing


Startup Meati Foods is using mycelium, the vegetative root of a fungi to make jerky, chicken breast, beefsteaks, and deli meat. It aims to offer a more affordable price akin to standard animal meat.

JENNA HAQUE: While plenty of plant-based meat companies claim to replicate the taste of the real thing, industry leaders like Beyond Meat, Inc. and Impossible Foods mostly sell products that mimic ground beef or sausages, rather than the texture of a whole cut. Now, a new startup focused on mushrooms wants to change that. Meati Foods, backed by famous restaurateurs like Grant Achatz and David Barber, is using mycelium, the vegetative root of a fungi to make jerky, chicken breast, beefsteaks, and deli meat.

“We’ve been eating mycelium ever since we’ve been eating mushrooms,” said Meati Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Tyler Huggins. “The advantage of mycelium is it’s very adaptable.“ While some strains of mycelium grow the familiar mushroom caps, the fungi has also been used as plastic replacements, shipping material, housing insulation, and fake leather — like in the vegan style of Adidas’ signature Stan Smith shoe.

Using the substance for alternative meat is a relatively new practice but it shows promise, said Caroline Bushnell of Good Food Institute, an organization that advocates for plant-based and cell-based foods. Properly replicating the texture of animal tissue is the biggest obstacle for fake meat companies, Bushnell said. That’s partly why market leaders like Beyond, Impossible and Nestle first tackled burgers and other ground meat products…

By contrast, Meati harvests a fast-growing strain of mycelium from grasslands around the world. Then, it places pieces of the fungi in big metal tanks. The company adds sugar to the tanks and lets the substance cultivate for 18 hours in a process similar to brewing beer. The outcome: easily-moldable chunks that mimic the texture of real meat, packed with protein, zinc, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals…

Meati hasn’t set prices yet but aims to offer a more affordable price point akin to standard animal protein products. The company has conducted preliminary market testing in local restaurants and plans to reach wider audiences in 2022… Huggins said his company aims to go beyond vegans and environmentally conscious eaters. He wants people to choose his product because they prefer it over traditional animal meat. SOURCE…