Yummy Mycoproteins

Could Mycoprotein Replace Soy-Based Ingredients in Meat Analogs?

by Bryan Salvage on 7/26/01 for

When it comes to the meat industry, the only constant is change.

But the same can be said of the meat-analog business, as well.

For example, it was recently reported that mycoprotein, an ingredient derived from mushroom-like fungi native to western Europe, could enter the U.S. market in the near future. And it could replace soy-based patties and snacks as the preferred alternative to meat-free products -- also known as meat analogs.

First, the Food and Drug Administration would have to approve the sale and consumption of mycoprotein in the United States, which could happen this summer, according to Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists.

European R&D showed mycoprotein to be high in protein, low in fat, and containing no cholesterol. Similar to soy-based ingredients currently used in this country, mycoprotein is taste-free but surpasses soy with a texture similar to meat, according to an IFT news release.

Mycoprotein is also currently marketed in a line of burgers, nuggets, sausages and prepared entrees in Europe, and it was approved in 1985 for U.K. consumption. Since then, meatless products using this ingredient have been chosen by 15 to 20 million British consumers, the IFT article reported.

Sales of mycoprotein products in 2001 are expected to be more than $150 million.

Healthful benefits of this new ingredient include:
Contains all essential amino acids
Fatty acid composition is more like vegetable fat than animal fat
Contains 6.25 percent dietary fiber
A good source of protein
Consumption significantly reduces LDL (bad)cholesterol levels
Extremely low allergenic potential

One study referenced in the article claims mycoprotein could benefit diabetics. And the article references three other studies where mycoprotein was shown to effectively reduce the amount of food consumed after meals, which implies possible uses for controlling body weight and appetite.