The "Meati" Business of Mycelium [GreenGut Weekly Find 11/6]
This startup is combining old-school food production with modern innovations to make plant-based meat 🌿🥩 with some serious nutritional power
Happy Friday, my fellow nerds! Who else is up for a break from the crazy? 🙋🏻♀️ GreenGut Weekly Find to the rescue with a look at Meati Foods, a startup approaching alt protein from a truly unique angle. 🍄
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Mycelium: The Meati Difference
Despite a significant amount of innovation with novel protein sources, the vast majority of plant-based products on the market today still rely on soy and pea ingredients. But the growing demand for alt protein necessitates a broader approach, one that moves away from commodity crops 🌾 to harness diverse, unique protein sources that can be produced sustainably at scale.
Meati co-founders Tyler Huggins and Justin Whiteley are pursuing one bountiful solution to the problem: mycelium. It’s the part of mushrooms that you never really see, the extensive network of fibrous threads hiding under the ground anywhere mushrooms are popping up. The pair is harnessing their collective passion for helping “people and the planet through engineering and science” to produce a line of tasty, nutritious and affordable plant-based protein 🥩 products for the masses.
The Sustainability Factor
Mycelium is a natural choice for ticking all the boxes required to meet diverse consumer demands. Using a combination of old-school food knowledge and modern tech, this Boulder-based startup is able to grow entire batches of mycelium in huge steel tanks—and it only takes around 18 hours. ⌚
It’s a little bit of cheese 🧀 making, a little bit of bread 🍞 making and a whole lot of dedication.
The creative magic begins after the mycelium has been carefully harvested. Huggins and Whiteley deliberately keep processing to a minimum, using only mycelium and a few other natural ingredients to create texture and flavor. The final product resembles a whole cut of meat, which has become somewhat of a holy grail in the alt protein space. 🏆 The race to be the first to produce a viable alternative with a similar taste, texture and nutritional profile to animal meat has brought a diverse range of protein sources and technologies into the picture, but Meati has resolved to keep it simple.
To Chick’n, 🐔 and Beyond!
A recent Series A round netted the startup $28 million to put toward refining its processes and getting the first iteration of consumer products just right. Trial runs of mycelium “steak” provided feedback from restaurant goers, and Meati expects to have its products ready for a wider market soon.
They already have the nutrition angle nailed. Info for their chick’n product shows an impressive 16 grams of protein in a 3-ounce serving, which only has 90 calories. On a calorie-per-calorie basis, that blows actual chicken out of the water and outdoes beans by 200% or more. 😲
The product also boost 6 grams of dietary fiber per serving, something that no animal meat can ever claim. 🐄 As if that weren’t enough, Meati chick’n is also low in fat, low in sodium and serves as a source of vitamin B12, something that can be difficult to get on a completely plant-based diet. 🌿
There’s more to come from this unique alt protein brand; the plant-based community shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to see what else they’re cooking up.
Being the sucker that I am for all things related to mushrooms 🍄 (and food nerdity), I’m loving Meati’s approach. The pictures on their website and in the press make me anxious to give their products a try. What the company is doing is a far cry from any of the alternative proteins on the market today, and I think they’re poised to go far. After all, it’s not every day you find a plant-based meat 🍗 product that can be at home on any plate—from hardcore whole-food plant-based 🥗 to dedicated omnivore.
My eye is on Meati as they go to market with the power of mycelium!
Excited about the future of these alt proteins? Share the nerdy love! 👇🏻👇🏻