• Moku: Forbes Under 30 Entreprenreur and Former JUST Head Chef Create Plant-Based Beef

    Hawaiian brand Moku, producer of plant-based beef jerky, has received financial backing from a plethora of investors from the plant-based world, including KBW Ventures, the VC firm headed by Saudi Arabia’s vegan Prince Khaled Alwaleed bin Talal. Moku explains to vegconomist that the jerky goes through a three-step proprietary process which is similar to how a chef would prepare meat.

    Moku is the brainchild of Oahu resident Matt Feldman, who was listed in the Forbes magazine “30 under 30” entrepreneur spotlight amongst other young plant-based pioneers. Feldman met Thomas Bowman, a Michelin-starred chef and the former Head of Product Development at JUST, who guided the transformation of the mushroom product into something more closely resembling meat.

    Ali Bouzari, co-founder of Pilot R&D, a culinary innovation and product development company founded by world-renowned chefs, joined the team to help create the concept – a mushroom-based jerky snack that promised the taste and texture of beef.

    Moku Foods plant-based jerky
    © Moku Foods

    While creating Moku, Ali and the Pilot R&D team went through over 100 iterations of the product until perfecting it, finally deciding on a proprietary three-step process that took inspiration from how to prepare meat. The ingredients are all plant-based but the approach and protocols all leverage many of the same steps that chefs and food developers use with meat. In fact, Moku embraces many of the qualities that consumers love about meat, and uses the same protocols one would see a BBQ chef use, but with king oyster mushrooms instead of meat. 

    Founder Matt Feldman told vegconomist: “When I started Moku, there were other vegan jerky products on the market, but they were either made from highly processed soy and wheat or specifically designed for vegans – which meant they didn’t quite resemble the taste of meat.  In order to appeal to a broader consumer base, including the ‘flexitarian’ crowd, emulating the taste and texture of beef jerky was our number one priority.  We were fortunate enough to partner with some of the top culinary experts in the country who took the same processes used to make brisket and BBQ, and apply them to our process of turning mushrooms into ‘meat’.  It took over 100 iterations to perfect Moku but, after all the trial-and-error, our customers say it’s the closest they’ve ever had to real jerky.”

    Moku’s jerky comes in three flavors: Hawaiian Teriyaki, Sweet & Spicy, and Original, with a variety pack also available through its website or Amazon Prime. 

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