Swedish mycelium-based protein leader Mycorena announces the development of its breakthrough M.E.A.T technology (Mycoprotein Extrusion and Alignment Technology) to unlock the full potential of alt meat production.
“Existing technology was not developed for this next generation of meat analogues.”
Mycorena is one of the fastest growing companies in the alt-protein space, recently announcing plans to extend its geographical reach by opening facilities across Europe and Asia. The fungi fermentation expert is the creator of the world’s first mycoprotein-based butter prototype and is running Europe’s largest mycoprotein demo production facility, which is in full operation.
M.E.A.T is a new food-manufacturing technology that is said to be especially suitable for mycoprotein. Developed after years of research and process development, the company claims its new M.E.A.T technology goes beyond the traditional extrusion technology currently available for making plant and fungi-based meat alternatives.
According to Mycorena, the most common texturization process, namely high moisture extrusion (HME), comes with certain disadvantages and limitations. Apart from requiring high pressure and temperature to mimic the animal muscle structure, there are limitations regarding the geometry and size of the manufactured product, making it dominantly suitable for rather flatter, chunky pieces.
Moreover, meat analogues on the market today are often based on texturized vegetable protein utilising soy, wheat, or pea. While all of them come with different characteristics regarding nutritional profile, texture, and taste, mycoprotein is claimed to have a naturally fibrous texture, neutral taste, and contains many essential amino acids.
Unlocking full potential of alt-meat
According to Mycorena, the company has now completed the puzzle of mycoprotein-based meat alternatives with its M.E.A.T technology, which is said to align the fibres into large, juicy whole-cut pieces craved by consumers.
The M.E.A.T technique uses both a bottom-up and top-down approach to manufacture entire cut meat analogues that completely match the structure of muscle fibers. Additionally, M.E.A.T is entirely unconstrained in terms of shapes and sizes, and further requires less energy compared to other processes.
“Up to now, we have identified several factors, both related to the material properties and the processing conditions, crucial to achieve a successful prototype. The next steps in the development will focus on upscaling the process further to be able to work with different mycoproteins and to expand the range of applications.” Dr Sicong Zhu, Food Scientist at Mycorena.
One of the company’s key focuses, in addition to exceptional taste and texture, is a short ingredients list.
“As one of the leading ingredient suppliers of mycoprotein, we see it as our responsibility to equip the customer not only with the best ingredients for their products, but also the technological solutions needed to work these proteins in the right way, unlocking their full potential. It is important to realise that existing technology was not developed for this next generation of meat analogues, therefore we often have to create our own novel methods,” comments Dr Kristina Karlsson, R&D Manager at Mycorena