The Naturist unveils alt-protein solution from “underrated superfood” hemp
The Naturist introduces Crump, a highly proteinous food, intending to replace “unsustainable meat” and “the risks of soy”
15 Apr 2022 --- Estonian start-up The Naturist has introduced its hemp-based protein crumble The Crump, a replacement to ground beef. But, not limiting itself to just replacing meat, the company also wants to counter soy. Still, its team admits to FoodIngredientsFirst that Crump would “always be more expensive than soy.”
“Compared to soy, Crump products will always be more expensive because they are made out of organic hemp hearts, which are the inner, most nutritious part of hemp seeds. We chose it because hemp is better for the environment and our health than soy,” remarks a company spokesperson.
“Vegan meat is supposed to breach this nutritional gap, but many products currently available on shelves have been revealed to be not only unhealthy, but they are also less sustainable than first thought. The main risk is mock soy meat. When processed, soy easily oxidizes, releasing thousands of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids), which research shows cause heart disease and cardiovascular issues.”
Crump is also a water-saving solution in contrast to meat. They affirm that every pack sold (200 g) saves 7,200 liters of water compared to beef. Additionally, each also offsets up to 20kg of CO2 emissions.
The Naturist claims that “58% of ex-vegans felt forced to quit their plant-based lifestyle due to health issues.”
One of these health considerations is concern about the comparable lack of protein in the plant-based diet – which is an issue that has been contested by vegan brands.
“After years of maintaining a plant-based lifestyle, I, like many other vegans, felt I had to give it up due to the health issues I was suffering, provoked by the lack of protein and consuming unhealthy vegan meat options.” Says Taavid Mikomägi, Co-Founder at Naturist.
Hemp, a superfood?
According to The Naturist, Cramp is composed of 80% of hemp and 20% of pea protein. It has 2.3 times more protein than beef and contains all nine essential amino acids, “unlike many other alt-meat alternatives.” It also has no preservatives, allergens, GMO’s and no soy.
This comes at a price, since the Cramp team revealed to FoodIngredientsfirst that it will retail at around US$27 per 200 gr (or a prohibitive cost of US$136 per kilogram).
“Crump products will always be more expensive [than alternatives like soy] because it is made out of organic hemp hearts, the inner, most nutritious part of hemp seeds.”
The taste of Crump is described as “natural and neutral.”
“It is not a lab-made abomination,” says Siim Land, creator of Crump.
It acquires taste, according to Land, when it is mixed with seasoning. “Then is when the magic happens.” It takes five minutes to cook, and its texture becomes “meat-like” when it absorbs water. It also satiates the appetite “superfast” due to its high protein intake.
“As it is made out of industrial hemp it does not contain THC, so it does not make you high nor cause hunger,” adds The Naturist team.
The crowdfunding path
The Naturist team chose Indiegogo to fund the start of their production. Receiving US$10,800 in the first 36 hours and US$5,000 more at the time of publication of this article, with 19 days left to the end of the crowdfunding phase of their project.
The Naturist is not the first alt-food company to choose to crowdfund. For example, US-based Squareat raised US$263,000 for their concentrated meals.
“Every penny gathered beyond the initial target allows us to scale the operations - to sell in more countries, hire more people, and produce more Crump so the price per package would drop,” according to The Naturist team.
Although, some pennies are going to support Ukraine with a Crump donation. As of April 14, they have gathered enough monetary donations through Indiegogo to secure 1.2 kg, although The Naturist will top it off to send “at least 10 kg”.
Creative solutions for the alt-protein market
In March, the EU raised the maximum THC limits for hemp, which points to tightening restrictions for the sector.
But fortunately, there is not only a single solution to alternative plant-based protein. Rival lab-based solutions to create and extract protein are also becoming more ubiquitous.
Agri-food giant ADM recently invested US$300 million to boost its production of next-gen protein extracted from chickpea, sunflower, fermentation or even from thin air. They are projecting that by 2030 the alt-protein sector will hit US$125 billion.
Meanwhile, New Zealand-based Leaft Foods is tapping into another unique source of protein – ordinary leaves. Green leaves contain rubisco, a protein trapped in the cell wall of leaves, which makes it the most common protein on Earth. Comparable to Crumb, Rubisco is also neutral in taste, but with the bonus of being a hypoallergenic substance.
By Marc Cervera
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