Demand for vegan foods means the mushroom meat market is expected to reach nearly $1 billion by 2032

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If you haven’t had a chance to try vegan meat made from mycoprotein — aka mushroom meat — you probably will soon. According to market research firm Future Market Insights (FMI), the global mycoprotein market is expected to reach nearly $1 billion by 2032.

Driven by increasing demand for higher quality, more sustainable and ethical protein alternatives and the mass adoption of veganism, the target market is expected to reach an estimated $298 million by the end of this year.

Mycoprotein, a high-protein fermented mushroom ingredient, is commonly used as a meat alternative in a variety of foods and beverages. Probably the best known brand to use mycoprotein in their products is the UK based vegetarian brand quornwhich may have been one of the first companies to introduce mushroom protein into food products.

quorn

While many of Quorn’s meatless products contain protein, the brand also offers a full range of vegan products such as dinosaur-shaped vegan chicken nuggets, Turkish-style kabobs, fishless fillets and pepperoni slices.

What is mycoprotein?

More specifically, mycoprotein is a protein made from Fusarium venenatum or other naturally occurring fungal strains. To make mycoprotein, manufacturers ferment fungal spores along with other nutrients using a fermentation process called microbial fermentation, similar to the process used to make beer. The result is a doughy mix with a meat-like texture that’s high in protein and fiber.

Microbial fermentation is not a new concept and has been used in the food industry for decades. In 1983, mycoprotein was approved as a commercial food ingredient in the UK, and in 2002 the United States Food and Drug Association (FDA) gave the go-ahead for the use of mycoprotein in food.

Many believe that mycoprotein could be a more sustainable source of protein than animal protein, as animal husbandry is known to be a resource-intensive process with a high carbon footprint.

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Nature’s Find

according to a to learn Published earlier this year in the scientific journal Nature, the shift in global animal meat production to mycoprotein could have a profound impact on the planet. Researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found that replacing 20 percent of traditionally produced beef with mushroom-based meat made through microbial fermentation results in a 50 percent reduction in deforestation by 2050, along with other environmental improvements.

“The food system is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, with ruminant meat production being the largest single source,” study lead author Florian Humpenöder said in a statement. “Future substitution of ruminant meat with microbial protein could significantly reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of the food system.”

What drives the mycoprotein market?

According to FMI, increasing health awareness among consumers is also likely to drive the market for mycoprotein products. Additionally, advances in the foodservice sector, where restaurant chains are embracing more plant-based menu options, have improved the future prospects for mycoprotein products.

Additionally, increased consumer awareness of alternative protein sources is driving the target market growth during the projected period.

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KFC

In the UK, for example, Quorn began working with the fried chicken chain KFC in 2020 to develop mycoprotein-based chicken products for its menu, including a vegan chicken burger and possibly vegan chicken buckets.

Restaurants and consumers are jumping in because mycoprotein products are excellent sources of protein with great texture and taste, FMI notes. Mycoprotein products also contain a high proportion of various minerals and vitamins. All these considerations coupled with the increased manufacturing of mycoprotein products lead to the expansion of the mycoprotein market during the forecast period.

“The increased use of mycoprotein in food applications coupled with increasing acceptance of plant-based meats will drive global mycoprotein market growth during the forecast period,” an FMI analyst said in a statement.

Companies like MycoTechnology Inc., Tyson Ventures, General Mills, Beyond meatand Impossible Foods are leading players in the vegan meat market. While some are focused on increasing the nutritional content of mycoprotein products, other companies are keen to incorporate alternatives to meat products such as mycoprotein, which is expected to support these companies’ growth.

Significant regional growth is expected for Europe and North America. The strong presence of important manufacturers as well as the growing presence of the production of mycoprotein products in Europe is particularly driving the market in this region.

North America is rapidly catching up to target market growth in Europe. East Asia and South Asia are also anticipated to present several lucrative opportunities for the mycoprotein market during the forecast period.

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