Gothenburg, January 4, 2023 — Gothenburg-based food-tech company Mycorena endeavours to accelerate a new category of hybrid meat products alongside Swedish food industry actors Nybergs Deli and ICA. The initiative aims to enable a shift toward more sustainable consumption by introducing blended products of meat and mycoprotein.
Recent years have shown an increasing demand for more sustainable and healthy alternatives to meat as consumers become more conscious of nutritional aspects and climate impact. Meat is still dominating the protein market, but actors in the food chain now crave a transformation in the system. As meat production alone is responsible for roughly 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions, producers are beginning to acknowledge the need for diversification for more sustainable production.
While plant-based options are more sustainable, recent studies and debates have found them to have some disadvantages regarding nutritional value and uptake. And, so far, plant-based products have yet to meet consumer expectations to the extent that it creates a shift in the market. Even hybrid products mixing plant-based protein and meat have not proven successful. To enable change in consumer behaviour, Mycorena strives to introduce hybrid products adapted to consumer needs.
Mixing meat with more qualitative, nutritious, and sustainable options, such as mycoprotein, ensures that the products maintain the aspects most important to consumers. Initial product validation tests have found that consumers hold health and nutrition equally important to sustainability. Hybrid products could reduce consumers’ meat consumption significantly while providing sufficient nutrients and still enjoying the qualities of meat.
‘We need to change how we produce food and reduce meat consumption. However, for everyone to completely cut out meat is unrealistic. Going vegetarian is a big step for many. Hybrid products could solve this issue. By blending meat and mycoprotein, we can reduce the environmental impact while still consciously consuming meat,’ says Sandra Zachrisson, Head of Product Innovation at Mycorena.
Mycorena’s proprietary mycoprotein ingredient Promyc is neutral in taste and with a meat-like texture, making it an excellent option for hybrid blends to maintain the taste and texture customers desire. Hybrids provide a conscious choice for anyone who wants to consume less meat and an easy option for those who struggle with it. Moreover, it provides excellent nutritional value to ensure a balanced and healthy diet. However, despite mycoprotein's advantages, the market has thus far not utilised its potential in a hybrid segment.
Therefore, Mycorena is now developing hybrid prototypes to test mixes and validate products on the market. Beginning with mainstream mince products, produced together with Nybergs Deli, the mycoprotein producer intends to initially test the market and consumer demand with ICA to build a new category.
‘We are aware that meat is a food with an environmental impact and that consumption accounts for a part of people’s climate impact. We also believe that total meat consumption will decrease somewhat over time. However, there will still be a large demand for meat products on the market. We believe that there is great potential for hybrid products for consumers who want to continue to enjoy meat but in a slightly smaller amount,’ says Mikael Ottestig, Commercial Manager at Nybergs Deli.
By taking on a more consumer-oriented approach, the initiative strives to provide options to families struggling to find alternatives that combine simple and nutritious with conscious and children-friendly. The goal is to reduce food security gaps and make it more accessible to eat healthily and sustainably. Therefore, hybrid products must be affordable and competitively priced to enable consumers to take the step.
“We see potential in developing hybrid products in the meat and charcuterie category that facilitates consumers to make more healthy and sustainable choices from the shelf. It is supposed to be easy to choose even more nutritious everyday favourites at ICA,” says Peder Ahlberg, Category Manager Meat/Charcuterie at ICA.
The new segment will provide value both in terms of environmental impact and as a healthy and affordable option to the traditional meat segment. The next step is going to the market to validate the products on a large scale. Mycorena envisions the new food segment of hybrid products as a stepping stone to increase the acceptance of alternative proteins while taking necessary steps toward a sustainable food system.
Since its founding in 2017, Mycorena has become one of the fastest-growing companies in the food industry and is recognised as one of the leading FoodTech start-ups in Europe. On a mission to change the entire food industry, Mycorena develops innovative fungi technology to provide next-generation food ingredients. The flagship product Promyc is a proprietary mycoprotein ingredient with unparalleled qualities.