Mush Foods, an Israeli foodtech startup which pioneered a way to cultivate mycelium mushrooms, a sustainable protein for food, has teamed up with several fungi fermentation companies from abroad to form a new international trade association: The Fungi Protein Association (FPA).
The FPA will represent the interests of its member companies, including advocating for fungi protein in public policy in the US, Israel and the world, conducting consumer research, and more.
While mushrooms have been used for centuries as meat replacements and natural medicine, various methods of fungi fermentation are creating a new crop of high-protein, high-fiber, meat alternatives. As such, fermented fungi are taking the alternative protein market by storm. Alongside plant and cell-based protein, it now represents one of the three mainstays of the burgeoning meat alternative sector.
Founded in 2021, the Israeli startup joins this brand-new collaboration alongside major British, American, and European companies including ENOUGH, Quorn, Nature’s Fynd, Bosque Foods, The Better Meat Co., The Protein Brewery, Prime Roots, Mycotechnology, Aqua Cultured Foods, and Mycorena, plus NGOs ProVeg and The Good Food Institute.
A 2022 study in Nature found that replacing just 20 percent of beef with microbial protein – the products FPA members are pioneering – could cut global deforestation by a whopping 50 percent.
“Israel is on the cutting edge, innovating foodtech solutions addressing major global challenges including the climate crisis, food security, and nutrition.The ‘Startup Nation’ is also situated in a region considered particularly vulnerable to climate change, with the Middle East heating up twice as fast as the global average,” noted Shalom Daniel, co-founder and CEO of Mush Foods.
Co-founded by Professors Dan Levanon and Dr. Idan Pereman of the Migal Galilee Research Institute, Mush Foods grows mycelium, the delicate and highly nutritious underground network of threads which constitutes more than 90 percent of the fungi’s biomass.
Fungi for protein!
Mush Foods piloted in Manhattan last week, reflecting consumer demand for this kind of protein alternative. Twenty percent of 6000 employees at major financial institutions in New York chose to purchase Mush Foods’ 50CUT hybrid beef and mycelium burger over some 10 other main dish options.
The Global Alternative Protein Market is expected to reach $36.61 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 12.4 percent during the forecast period of 2022 to 2029, according to Research & Markets. A recent Good Food Institute Israel report found that by the end of June, Israeli alternative protein startups and companies this year raised $320 million, placing the tiny Middle Eastern state second only to the United States ($857 million) terms of alternative protein investments.
“The world needs more protein, and fungi fermentation offers a delicious, sustainable way to do just that,” said Marco Bertacca of Quorn Foods, the British company which took the lead on the new international initiative. “We’re excited to partner with our fellow fungi enthusiasts to raise awareness and appreciation of the wonderful ways fungi can improve human health and the health of our planet.”
In May 2022, Dutch mycoprotein company ENOUGH also announced its partnership with Peace of Meat, the Belgian subsidiary of Israeli cultured meat start-up MeaTech, to combine cultivated fat biomass and fermented fungi mycoprotein to add a meaty mouthfeel to ENOUGH’s mushroom-based products. That’s a lot of mushroom business going around.