MyForestFoods secures funding to expand mycelium portfolio across East Coast

By Deniz Ataman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: MyForestFoods
Source: MyForestFoods

Related tags mycelium Meat alternatives alternative proteins fungi

MyForestFoods recently raised $15 million in Series A-2 funding to support the growth of its portfolio across the East Coast, including its mycelium bacon aptly called MyBacon, which was featured at the Vegan Women Summit in New York City May 19. The funding was led by MyForestFoods’ parent company, Ecovative Design.

"With this new funding and renewed commitment from our investors, my goal is to double down on our marketing and sales functions to take the MyForestFoods brand to the next level,​” Greg Shewchuk said in a recent press release​.

Currently, the Syracuse-based company’s flagship product, MyBacon, is commercially available in more than 100 stores, including Fairway Market and Gourmet Garage store locations in Manhattan. 

Along with stretching the company’s presence across the East Coast, Shewchuk explained to FoodNavigator-USA the next step is to educate customers about mycelium as a whole-cut meat alternative. The company’s proprietary AirMycelium technology, he said, “creates whole-cut, plant-based ‘meats’ out of the vegetative root structure of mushrooms that taste, smell, chew and nourish us just like traditional animal meat​s.”

The application of AirMycelium farming technology produces a plant-based whole-cut product, filling a significant market gap and bolstering a new industry category, ​the company stated in a press release.

With a minimal ingredient list, including coconut oil and liquid smoke, MyBacon is packaged similarly to its meat counterpart and consumers can cook the coconut oil-covered slices to the pan without additional oil.

The company harvests its mycelium at Swersey Silos, its vertical farm which has the capacity to produce almost three million pounds of mycelium annually.

"Swersey Silos, has rapidly scaled production since opening its doors in July, 2022​” and the company intends to "feed nearly one million consumers by next year,"​ Shewchuk added.

Additionally, the company plans to launch a second farm in Canada with Whitecrest Mushrooms, Ltd.

Consumer adoption of food technology to address systemic food issues is expected to rise

More consumers, particularly Gen Z and Millennials who are more likely to buy products that are socially and environmentally sound, are supportive of food technology and science​ as viable, progressive solutions to systemic food issues. Mycelium’s commercial uses are well known in construction, clothing and packaging; and its pervasiveness in the food industry as a sustainable, nutritious meat alternative is picking up speed.

While the numbers may fluctuate due to economic shifts, the mycelium market is expected to reach $5.49 billion by 2030​, driven by its potential to serve as sustainable alternatives for a wide range of industries.

Known for its savory umami flavor and packed with whole protein, amino acids, fiber, vitamins, mycelium is seeing more popularity as an alternative to whole meat cuts without saturated fats and cholesterol.

Food scarcity and equity particularly in communities facing food deserts and a lack of access to healthy food are a tremendous opportunity for brands, retailers and policymakers to reshape the food system. As Jillian Semaan, VP, sustainability in Ketchum’s food, agriculture and ingredient division mentioned in a previous interview​ with FoodNavigator-USA, brands must develop efficient and authentic ESG strategies that contribute not just to their bottom line, but to the community it serves.

More than 34 million people were living in food insecurity in 2021​, a decrease from 38 million in 2020. With grocery prices increased to a staggering 12% this year, solutions from each sector—agriculture, manufacturing, retail and policy—are critical.

As JJ Kass, VP, business development and strategy, Tindle, explained to FoodNavigator-USA previously​, scalability within the plant-based industry is a challenge due to rising costs in ingredients, transportation, manufacturing, among others. Mycelium products may alleviate the plant-based industry’s pain points given its low carbon footprint and high yield, along with its nutritional and taste benefits for American consumers.

 

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