Mush Foods - launched by former Unilever executive Shalom Daniel – grows mushroom mycelia in a ‘semi-solid’ fermentation process that it plans to sell business to business.
“The whole idea is to get to the big meat players first," said Daniel. "Our product is specifically made and produced in order to mix together with animal meat so you get some environmental and health benefit at scale.”
He added: “What's the benefit in eating [pure-play] plant-based meat alternatives today? Are they tastier than meat? No. Are they cheaper than meat? No. Are they even healthier than meat? Not necessarily. We're trying to bring a consumer benefit to meat products [to create hybrid products containing conventional meat and mycelia] so you get your fiber and nutrients and cut cholesterol, saturated fat anyway, and calories.”
On the regulatory front, Mush is going through the GRAS process, but says things are relatively straightforward as it is only using “edible mushroom strains,” said Daniel, who said his approach was similar to that of US company MyForest Foods.
“They use woodchips, but for our substrate, we're using upcycled food waste from industry corn, soy, coffee."
As for scale up, he said, “We're about to close our seed round in order to build a bigger facility in the United States, probably in the northeast.”
Asked whether he was interested in producing fungi-based whole cuts like Meati Foods, he said: “It’s a very good product but I think it’s a very small market.”