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Mycorena displays first mycoprotein butter prototype

12 July 2022

The butter-like product will be suitable for vegan markets

Mycorena, a food tech company based in Europe, recently announced a breakthrough in fungi technology which has allowed for the creation of a unique fungi-structured fat ingredient. As a result, Mycorena unveiled its next area of mycoprotein applications: high-fat dairy alternatives. This area of application is possible through a unique patent-pending processing method developed by the company this year, according to a company press release.

The new technology has opened up a lot of prospects for product applications of high-fat dairy alternatives and the company is currently exploring all possibilities of the technique and will soon be launching a series of new product prototypes. Mycorena expects that the new process will make it possible to create a range of sustainable, vegan alternatives to any high-fat dairy product and the first intended consumer product will be 'butter'. The new method requires few ingredients and can even be made without additives commonly used in animal- or plant-based dairy alternatives, the company said.

“This is something our team has been trying to figure out for more than a year, with little success until recently," said chief innovation officer Paulo Teixeira. "Usually, mycoprotein is considered a non-functional protein ingredient that needs other ingredients to create interesting food structures. We have just shown here that this is not true; you just need to work it the right way.” 

The choice of exploring butter as the first application is somewhat unique since most focus within the plant-based dairy field is currently on cheese applications. The company chose to focus on because butter is made out of dairy that has very high fat content where more than half of the product consists of saturated fats. The product is high in cholesterol, thus combining two things commonly associated with cardiovascular disease. Mycorena’s new process enables the creation of a healthier butter alternative with heavily reduced saturated fat content and no cholesterol, while at the same time enriching the product with a small amount of protein, something which is commonly lacking in plant-based oils.

Many plant-based alternatives to high-fat dairy products already exist on the market today, but their texture is limited to that of the solid fat source used in the product. The majority of available commercial products contains either palm- or coconut-oil, both associated with being unsustainable from either an environmental or social perspective. Mycorena’s new process make use of the unique properties of fungi to structure their fat-based applications, allowing them to work with locally sourced fats such as oil from rapeseed.

Another reason to focus on butter alternatives is the sometimes overlooked, rapidly expanding market. The global cow’s milk butter market is projected to grow from USD 37.01 billion in 2021 to USD 49.07 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 4.11 % during the forecasted period. This should be put in relation to the cheese market which is projected to grow from USD 123.87 billion in 2021 to USD 161.23 billion by 2028, exhibiting a lower CAGR of 3.84 % during the forecasted period. It should also be mentioned that the main restraining factor to the butter market growth is predicted to be the increasing demand for vegan and lactose free alternatives.



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