While plant-based merchandise have historically benefited from considerably of a ‘well being halo’, instances are altering.
Previously, some customers might routinely have presumed meat-free meant wholesome. However, prolonged elements lists made up of processed elements – suppose protein isolate or methylcellulose – have a rising variety of customers in search of ‘clear label’ alternate options.
“Companies have finished an amazing job of mainstreaming plant-based merchandise, however now because the market is extra mature, persons are anticipating larger high quality, more healthy merchandise,” Triin Remmelgas, founder and CEO of Estonian start-up Meet Future, advised FoodNavigator.
“There is a rising demand for much less processed and more healthy merchandise with shorter ingredient lists. This is the place we need to place ourselves.”
Sustainable alt protein
Meet Future’s answer is a variety of whole-cut meat and seafood merchandise constituted of fermented fungal protein – in any other case often known as mycoprotein.
The start-up is sourcing the vast majority of its mycoprotein ingredient from Glasgow meals tech firm ENOUGH (previously 3f Bio). Known as ABUNDA, ENOUGH’s mycoprotein ingredient is a ‘full’ meals ingredient that incorporates all 9 important acids and is excessive in dietary fibre.
It can also be thought-about a sustainable protein supply. According to ENOUGH, the manufacturing of ABUNDA requires 97% much less feed than beef and 80% much less feed than chickens, 93% much less water than beef and 55% much less water than chickens, and is related to 97% much less CO₂ emissions than beef and 80% decrease CO₂ emissions than chickens.
“It has proven to have higher [sustainability credentials] than meat, clearly, but additionally higher than some plant-based protein sources,” we have been advised.
Further, the ingredient has the potential to enhance meals safety within the face of local weather change. “Some of the arable land at present out there will change into non-arable because of local weather change,” Remmelgas continued, “so producing mycoprotein in a managed setting is one thing that might assist us [improve] meals safety sooner or later.”
Meat-free hen and seafood
Meet Future is leveraging mycoprotein to develop whole-cut meat analogues. Starting with chicken merchandise, the start-up is at present creating a hen fillet prototype for each hen items and whole-cut hen breast.
“Mycoprotein could be very fibrous. It means that you can create a extremely good texture and style which is similar to its animal-based counterparts – with out utilizing expensive industrial strategies.”
Also within the pipeline are fish and seafood alternate options, which Remmelgas mentioned is a powerful client development.
“Demand is rising, however solely about 100 firms give attention to plant-based seafood merchandise. This is certainly a section the place we see plenty of potential and room for innovation.”
The firm additionally aspires to develop into the ‘consolation meals’ class, however providing customers ‘wholesome and engaging’ hen nugget alternate options, for instance. Being low in saturated fat, with amino acid profile, and free from antibiotics, the CEO says its choices could make for ‘guilt-free’ indulgence.
Meet Future is assured its merchandise can be extra inexpensive than most plant-based meat analogue counterparts, and expects to launch its first mycoprotein-based hen different in November 2022.
Differentiating from Quorn
Meet Future isn’t the primary meals model to leverage mycoprotein as a meals ingredient. The world’s main producer of meat-alternative merchandise, Quorn Foods, can also be based on mycoprotein.
The Estonian start-up differentiates itself from Quorn in quite a few methods, we have been advised.
“What differentiates us from Quorn is our sturdy give attention to whole-cut meats, fish and seafood, and the truth that we solely use plant-based uncooked supplies.”
Quorn binds variety of its merchandise, together with its Quorn Crispy Nuggets and Garlic & Herb Fillets, with egg whites. Yet Meet Future is decided to stay to 100% plant-based throughout the board.
“Egg white has confirmed to be a extra versatile binder than another plant-based sources. However, our particular purpose is to have all our merchandise be 100% vegan. So egg isn’t an choice for us.”
While discovering an acceptable egg white alternative has been an ‘impediment’ within the R&D course of, the CEO revealed the problem is ‘manageable’. “We are within the R&D section and are testing out completely different uncooked supplies,” she advised this publication.
Potato is one such binder the start-up has examined. “It has confirmed to be a great way of reaching good texture and good style.”
Another differentiator lies in Meet Future’s branding. Whereas Quorn has ‘gone down the mainstream highway’, Meet Future is aiming for a extra ‘minimalistic, pure, and Nordic’ model idea.
“I believe this fits mycoprotein and our merchandise, being prime quality, and having fewer elements.”
From a geographical perspective, Meet Future is concentrating on a very completely different market. “We have chosen to enter the Eastern European market,” the CEO defined, citing Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.
“This market is commonly ignored…however for us, that is low hanging fruit. This is the market we all know. Market entry obstacles are decrease, and we’ll be capable of check our merchandise out earlier than trialling them in different markets – notably Central and Northern Europe.”
Meet Future has been accepted into the eighth cohort of the ProVeg Incubator, which focuses on rising meals applied sciences and elements for the choice protein area.
“In phrases of know-how and contacts…it’s actually inspirational and motivating,” CEO and founder Triin Remmelgas advised FoodNavigator. “We’re constructing contacts with stakeholders, equivalent to mentors and CEOs, retails and contract producers – making the processes simpler for us.”