“Umami goodness”: The Mushroom Benefit launches new line of specialty crunchy snacks
The Israeli start-up is tapping into both the popularity of umami flavors and the snacking trend
17 Jun 2019 --- Israeli start-up The Mushroom Benefit has released a new line of mushrooms that seeks to “bring exotic mushroom goodness to the snack aisles.” Coined Umamis Crunchy Snacks, the release taps into the growing snacking and convenience foods trend. The Umamis Crunch snack portfolio currently comprises four flavors: natural, barbeque, salt and vinegar and salt and pepper. Marketed as being “fun and healthy”, the company is targeting children as well as busy adults looking for “exotic,” clean label snack alternatives to suit their busy lifestyles.
The Mushroom Benefit notes that positioning specialty mushrooms as the central ingredient adds both exotic appeal and a compelling flavor boost, without the need for MSG, salt or artificial flavors and takes advantage of the delicious savory sensation that mushrooms naturally impart. The all-natural bites offer an on-the-go snack that leverages the health characteristics innately present in specialty mushrooms while offering a naturally derived and guilt-free umami kick, describes the company.
According to Innova Market Insights’ annual flavors trends, umami is a flavor that is experiencing growth in the West. Perceptions of umami – also coined the “fifth flavor” – are expanding and consumers are showing a growing demand for clean label products, causing “natural source of umami” claims to thrive.
“The mushroom base enabled us to design a snack that is all-natural and tasty, as well as delivering mycotherapeutic functionality,” says Mira Weigensberg, CEO and Co-Founder of The Mushroom Benefit.
“Our product line is compliant with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations for defining healthy food products. This is a significant milestone, as it sets The Mushroom Benefit far ahead of the majority of crunchy snack food brand products currently on the market that often contain trans-fats and higher calories with minimal nutrients,” she adds.
Umamis Crunchy Snacks are manufactured using a traditional extrusion technology applied with novel adaptations that yield a generous 40g-equivalent hit of fresh mushrooms per serving. The result is an indulgent and wholesome umami-rich treat that easily fits today’s on-the-go lifestyle, according to the start-up.
Each package contains a combination of all-natural king oyster mushrooms and corn to give it a crispy puffed texture. The zero trans-fat, plant-based product contains no cholesterol or sugar and no artificial flavoring or coloring.
In addition to certain crucial vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber, specialty mushrooms are touted for their naturally occurring beta-glucans, a polysaccharide complex with acknowledged benefits for boosting immunity and balancing metabolic functions. These nutrients can withstand extreme conditions such as heat which enables them to retain their healthful features throughout the manufacturing process, the company explains.
The snacking sector is highly dynamic and the salty snack market in the US is particularly thriving. Current estimates point to sales of close to US$30 billion by 2022. According to Innova Market Insights data, snacking is a central focus of innovation across all food and beverage categories, with 10 percent average annual growth of global launches with a snacking claim over the past five years (CAGR, 2013-2017). At the same time, the market researcher reports a 31 percent growth in snacking launches with exotic flavors (Global, CAGR 2013-2017).
This is largely driven by overly hectic lifestyles, with less time for traditional meal breaks. For most consumers, snacking is a part of daily life. Three square meals are no longer the mantra either – a fourth, fifth or even sixth meal culture is emerging, as grazers look for that little extra pick-me-up during a hectic day.
“As consumers become more informed about the ingredients contained in their food, there is a pronounced gravitation towards natural, clear label foods that contribute to well-being yet do not detract from the joy of everyday living,” notes Tal Leizer, CEO of Practical Innovation Ltd., a key innovation engine behind the development of Umamis Crunchy Snack. “The product line offers a better-for-you product that is in a convenient format that conforms to consumers’ busy schedules. We designed it to embody the taste and nutritional values that the wider public is seeking.”
For the past 30 years, The Mushroom Benefit’s founders specialized in the research, cultivation, and marketing of exotic mushrooms in Israel. Currently, The Mushroom Benefit start-up focuses on the innovation and development of novel functional food products based on exotic mushrooms and other natural ingredients within the international specialty food marketplace.
Previously the company also released a line of Cuisine Bags, as a plant-based, clean label alternative to traditional powdered soup stocks, that sought to disrupt the soup, stock and sauces retail market, according to the company.
By Kristiana Lalou
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