Fermented fungi disrupt alternative dairy, protein markets

A new fungi-based protein, created via fermentation technology, introduces a high-protein, sustainable and versatile base for alternative dairy and meat applications.

Rachel French, Contributing writer

May 23, 2024

2 Min Read
Nature's Fynd dairy-free yogurt.

At a Glance

  • The functional mushrooms market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% through 2028.
  • Research suggests that functional mushrooms may offer various health benefits.
  • The new fungus contains all 20 amino acids, 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.

Nature’s Fynd’s fungi-based yogurt, which launched at Whole Foods stores in January, is the first of its kind to hit retailers, the company said.

Mushrooms are gaining traction in foods and beverages, largely for their functional benefits. Data from Bridge Market Research predicted the market for functional mushrooms will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8% through 2028.

The market research firm attributed increased demand for functional mushrooms to their health and nutritional benefits, claiming that antioxidants found in mushrooms can support blood flow, boost immune health and reduce stress, among other benefits. Mushroom consumption may even lower cancer risk, according to recent research.

According to Karuna Rawal, chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer at Nature’s Fynd, fungi don’t require the land or water needed for plant growth or animal grazing, making them more efficient to produce than other options.

“Fungi, as a source of alternative protein, are still quite new and revolutionary,” Rawal said. “We have relied for over 11,000 years on a small group of animals and plants to feed ourselves, but as planetary resources become scarcer with the impact of climate change and our population heading toward 10 billion, we need new solutions.”

Fy, the nutritional fungi protein that serves as the base for Nature’s Fynd’s yogurt and other products, also taps consumer demands for nutrition and wellness. Fy contains all 20 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids, is good source of fiber, and is low in fat, according to Rawal. Its yogurt, for example, offers 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, and is made with live and active cultures.

Fy is created via a fermentation method that allows Nature’s Fynd to grow it at scale with “a fraction of the resources” compared to traditional options, Rawal said.

Meat protein alternatives like pea or soy convert an existing protein from one form into another, she explained, “like from a pea into a protein isolate that’s then used in a veggie burger. Meanwhile, animals only concentrate protein from the plants they eat.”

Fy, however, uses fermentation to convert simple ingredients into a versatile protein with no middleman.

“This means less wasted land, water and energy to create more sustainable food,” Rawal explained.

Fermentation is a food technology widely accepted by consumers. In fact, 40% of U.S. adults, amounting to more than 90 million people, said they’re immediately ready to try products made with precision fermentation technology, according to research from The Hartman Group.

Fy-based yogurt marks the third product line in the brand’s portfolio, alongside dairy-free cream cheese and meatless breakfast patties. The broad product range is thanks to Fy’s versatile texture and taste.

“Fy can be turned into everything from a powder to a liquid and, from there, into just about anything delicious you can imagine across a variety of cuisines and eating occasions,” Rawal said.

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Contributing writer

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.

Subscribe and receive the latest insights on the healthy food and beverage industry.
Join 30,000+ members. Yes, it's completely free.

You May Also Like