“This is our first completely new plant in the new category of food fermentation”

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The new plant, located in Falkenberg, Sweden, will produce Mycorena’s mycoprotein ingredient, Promyc, for the meat substitute market.

In the first phase of the plant, the operational capacity will be set at 5,000 tons per year, with a focus on minced meat products. Mycorena has secured additional land for a potential site expansion of up to 25-50,000 tonnes in the medium term, and possibly up to 100,000 tonnes in three to four years.

“With a capacity of 100,000 tons, we would be able to supply the Scandinavian market, as well as part of the European market”, Mycorena founder and CEO Ram Nair told FoodNavigator.

The commissioning side of the plant is expected to open in the second quarter of 2023, with full operations operational the following quarter.

Tetra Pak merger

Tetra Pak is best known for its packaging and food processing technologies. Its partnership with Mycorena – facilitating the establishment of a “one-stop-shop” for Mycorena’s upstream and fermentation equipment – ​​aligns with its long-term vision.

“This is part of the company’s long-term vision to address food safety and food security challenges through the exploration and advancement of innovative food sources,” a Tetra Pak spokesperson told this publication.

More than half of global greenhouse gas emissions from the food industry are attributable to livestock farming. In this context, alternative proteins open up opportunities for new forms of sustainable nutrition.

Along with the potential for a lower carbon footprint, there is also the potential to significantly reduce land and water use compared to traditional protein sources.

The new factory should be operational in 2023. Image credit: Mycorena

Tetra Pak uses its “deep understanding” of food production to support food and beverage manufacturers on the go, we were told, using one of the oldest processes in food production – the fermentation – combined with some of the “latest” and “most advanced” processes. ‘ technologies.

“While this may be Tetra Pak’s first greenfield plant in the new category of food fermentation, it has invested in the development of this technology, including from biomass to precision fermentation,” continued the spokesperson.

From Mycorena’s point of view, Tetra Pak is the “ideal” partner. “Not only because of their cutting-edge expertise in processing, but we also have a common ambition to develop a more sustainable food chain,” Nair explained.

A “unique” mushroom strain

The global mycoprotein market was estimated at $552 million in 2020. Research and Markets forecasts it to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% to reach $803 million by 2027.

The predominant strain of fungus used to produce mycoprotein is known as Fusarium venenatum.This is the strain used by Quorn, owned by Marlow Foods, for example.

Mycorena, however, manufactures its mycoprotein from an undisclosed “unique” strain. Nair expects the identity of the stain to be revealed soon, as the company’s patents are expected to be about to be published.

“We use a completely different mushroom, which is not a new food”, the CEO told this publication. “That’s our advantage: we have a completely different starting point.”

“The advantage of this strain is that the fungal biomass is of higher quality…especially nutritionally. We have higher protein content…as well as better texture in applications.

Nair suggested that manufacturers are increasingly looking for a “harder” – as opposed to “mushy” – texture for the production of vegan foods, which Promyc can provide.

Other advantages lie in Mycorena’s fermentation process – based on custom-built bioreactors – and the company’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to downstream processing. “We can use our ingredient for whole cuts, for flakes and hash.”

Business expansion

Mycorena is definitely in a period of growth.

The company launched Promyc in 2019 and two years later established its demonstration plant. Mycorena’s Innovation and Development Center (MIND) is the “largest facility of its kind” in Europe.

“Thanks to our recent rapid growth and the expansion of Mycorena’s innovation and development center, we have been able to scale at a rate we never thought possible,” said Nair.

In March this year, the company closed the largest ever Nordic Series A financing round in the area of ​​alternative proteins, securing €24 million for the commercialization of Promyc.

“In one go, we raised more capital than all previous funding rounds combined, and our total funding more than tripled,” commented CFO Anton Johansson.

CEO Nair continued: “Funds raised in the current Series A round will help elevate our trajectory even further. This allows us to invest heavily in innovation and growth…”

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