Mycoprotein: The Meat Made From Mushrooms

Mycoprotein: The Meat Made From Mushrooms

Seraiah Alexander
Seraiah Alexander
May 21, 2024
3 min

Meat, look out—there’s a new protein alternative in town! Forget everything you know about “plant-based”—it’s time to get acquainted with “fungi-powered” mycoprotein. This revolutionary protein source has a hearty, meat-like texture and remarkable nutritional profile, making it an excellent option for anyone trying to diversify their diet. 

Whether you’re cutting back on meat for health benefits, environmental reasons, or just to explore new flavors, mycoprotein is opening up an exciting new world of delicious, fungi-fueled possibilities.

What is mycoprotein, and how is it made?

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Mycoprotein is a meat-free, vegan protein source usually made from a naturally occurring fungus called Fusarium venenatum. Unlike traditional plant-based proteins, mycoprotein is created through a fermentation process, similar to how yogurt or beer is made. The fungus is fermented in a tank and fed a nutrient-rich solution typically made from glucose, vitamins, and minerals. The conditions inside the fermentation tank, such as temperature and pH, are carefully controlled to ensure optimal growth.

Mycoprotein doesn’t use the actual fruiting bodies of mushrooms, although those are a good source of protein, too. Instead, it uses the fungus’s root system, called mycelium, which creates a large biomass that can be continuously harvested from the tank. Once harvested, the biomass is heat-treated to stop its growth and sterilized for safety. Next, excess moisture is removed from the mycelium biomass, and then it is shaped into different forms, like chunks or mince, to give it a more meat-like texture. Finally, the mycoprotein is flavored, and additional ingredients can be added to enhance its taste and texture.

How does mycoprotein compare to meat?

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Mycoprotein is a great alternative for those looking to reduce their meat consumption since it is nutritionally dense and tastes strikingly similar. Yet, how does this alternative compare to meat? 

Nutritional profile

Fat: Unlike meat, mycoprotein is low in fat, especially saturated fat, and contains no cholesterol

Protein: Mycoprotein has around 11 to 15 grams of protein per 100 grams, while lean mean usually has around 26 to 31 grams. Nonetheless, mycoprotein still offers a considerable amount of protein, especially as a meat alternative.

Fiber: Mycoprotein is high in dietary fiber, which is good for gut health and blood sugar levels, yet meat contains none.

Culinary versatility

Mycoprotein has a similar texture and taste to meat and absorbs flavor well, making it a versatile ingredient in recipes. Plus, mycoprotein can be made in various forms, from bacon to deli meat, minces, and fillets, so it can be used in a wide variety of dishes.

Price and availability

Meat can be found in pretty much every grocery store, but mycoprotein can be hard to come by since it’s still a relatively new product. Depending on the brand or product, mycoprotein can be priced competitively with meat, but cost and availability will vary depending on where you live.

Environmental impact

Mycoprotein eliminates the need for animal farming, which significantly contributes to greenhouse gases and climate change. Plus, mycoprotein production requires significantly less land, water, and energy compared to traditional meat production while generating less waste.

Where to get mycoprotein

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Because mycoprotein is so new to the market, there are only a handful of brands you’ll actually see in stores. Quorn is the most established mycoprotein brand, selling everything from “chicken” nuggets to meatless patties. You’ll likely find Quorn products in any major grocery or health food store.

Meati Foods is another emerging mycoprotein company that’s been gradually gaining recognition for its approach to fungi-based meat. Meati offers a selection of cutlets that closely resemble and taste like the real thing. While you may find Meati products in select grocery stores, their availability is not as widespread due to their newer presence in the market. However, as their distribution network expands, their availability continues to increase.

Both products, along with several international brands, can be found and ordered online, either directly from their websites or through major online retailers like Amazon. 

The rise of mushroom meat

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Around 39% of Americans are actively trying to reduce their meat intake and consume more plant-based meals. Many are beginning to recognize the environmental, ethical, and health concerns associated with high meat consumption. With a growing market of delicious plant-based products that closely resemble meat, it’s no wonder more people are making the switch. The market for plant-based foods has been expanding rapidly in the U.S., with over $11.3 billion in sales in 2023, reflecting the increasing demand for sustainable and healthy food options​.

While mycoprotein still has a long way to go regarding accessibility, it offers a unique opportunity to grow a protein source from spore to steak. As mycoprotein brands become more mainstream in the plant-based world, their reach and influence are expected to expand. Until then, keep an eye out for mycoprotein at your local store and try it for yourself to see if it lives up to its meat-like reputation.


Seraiah Alexander

Seraiah Alexander

Content Editor

Table Of Contents

What is mycoprotein, and how is it made?
How does mycoprotein compare to meat?
Where to get mycoprotein
The rise of mushroom meat

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