Bosque Foods unveils first mycelium-based pork and chicken options
28 Feb 2022 --- Mycelium pioneer Bosque Foods (formerly Kinoko Labs) has unveiled its whole-cut mushroom-based meat alternatives for the first time in Europe during a private tasting at the ProVeg Incubator in Berlin. The sampled products included alt-pork filets in Vietnamese bao buns and alt-chicken filets.
The purpose of the tasting event was to showcase Bosque Food’s early prototyping with mycelium as an ingredient and to demonstrate the start-up’s progress made on developing related end products.
Mycelium is the network of underground thread-like filaments that grows underneath mushrooms, increasingly explored as an alternative food source and new packaging material. The organisms are fed on low-value agri-food byproducts, which presents upcycling potential for industry.
“When we started Bosque Foods, we studied the market and understood that there’s a growing segment of consumers that want to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons,” Isabella Iglesias-Musachio, founder and CEO of Bosque Foods, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“However, many feel that the products available to them are all the same: ultra processed, often with a long list of ingredients full of synthetic chemicals and additives, and not necessarily healthy. There are also mostly burger patties and nuggets,” she notes.
“We knew that fungi are essentially the forest’s natural meat alternatives. Our goal is not to recreate meat alternatives that bleed or look exactly like meat, but instead create new alternatives that taste even better and are equally as ‘meaty’ and function the same, without the negative health or environmental toll of animal meat.”
Lightning growth for shroom protein
The food-tech company, based in New York, is an alumnus of the ProVeg Incubator and IndieBio.
“Bosque Foods is moving forward at lightning speed. We have opened our new labs in New York and are looking for additional lab space in Germany,” comments Iglesias-Musachio.
“Since we work with a whole ingredient that we cultivate ourselves – mycelium – we can leverage the entire nutritional profile of our ingredient, including proteins, fibers and micro-nutrients.”
The naturally textured and fibrous ingredient does not require to be ultra-processed to look meaty, she adds. “Therefore, we develop a cleaner and minimally processed product in comparison to those you typically find made with soy and pea protein isolates.”
In mycelium cultivation, Bosque Foods lets the fungi “do most of the job,” Iglesia-Musachio highlights.
“We simply supply key growing conditions to our fungi in order to ‘trick’ it into thinking that it is in the soil or a decomposing tree trunk. That way, it develops into mycelium – not mushrooms – which we harvest and process using simple techniques to turn this fibrous and nutrient-dense ingredient into our whole-cuts.”
From the science and tech side, the company has achieved proof of concept for its unique solid-state fermentation method.
“We’ve also onboarded our new CSO, Dr. Jorg Bormann, who is a fungal biologist with over 20 years of experience in fermentation research, and our new CTO Caroline Van Der Horst, a food technologist who has helped to build two of the largest mycelium cultivation companies in Europe.”
Other prospective investors at the tasting event included Purple Orange Ventures, Astanor Ventures, Food Labs, Big Idea Ventures and Be8.
Appetite for fungi
The timing of Bosque Food’s launch could not be more apt, as plant-based NPD has seen exponential growth this year and continues to gain momentum.
As mushroom ingredients continue to gain industry traction, Meati, a start-up developed by two Ph.D. students from the University of Colorado Boulder, US, is another start-up tapping into the potential of fermented mycelium in the development of meat alternatives.
In other mushroom innovations, Chiber, the natural fiber taken from the stems of white button mushrooms, is seeing potential as an upcycled natural extract by Chinova Bioworks.
Among other developments in this space, food-tech accelerator Eatable Adventures recently showcased realistic mycelium-based burgers.
And last June, food-tech company MycoTechnology, which works with mushrooms to make “new-to-the-world” food ingredients, closed a series D round of financing that totals over US$120 million from investors.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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