MATR Foods is a Danish startup producing sustainable meat alternatives via fungal fermentation. Made with just five ingredients — oats, split peas, lupin, beetroot, and potatoes — the products are described as a “new generation” of plant-based food.
The ingredients used are organic, upcycled, and sourced from Danish farms. To transform them into meat alternatives, MATR adds natural fungi spores, which ferment the ingredients to give an umami flavor and firm bite. The resulting products are low in calories and high in fibre, with no additives.
Success in European markets
MATR’s product range includes plant-based steak, mince, and a block that can be cut into any shape. The meat alternatives have already launched at Sticks N’Sushi in the UK, Denmark, and Germany as part of a menu item called the MATR Chili yakitori stick; this consists of MATR meat with teriyaki sauce, plant-based chilli mayo, and spring onions. Additionally, the startup has partnered with Danish burger chain Gasoline Grill to offer a meat-free patty that can be ordered as part of any burger.
Recently, MATR announced it had secured follow-on funding from the BioInnovation Institute after taking part in the organisation’s Venture House program. The startup says it is seeing substantial demand, and will use the financial support — which comes in the form of a €1.3 million convertible loan — to upscale production. MATR hopes to launch at retail stores early next year.
“New and greener direction”
The plant-based industry is receiving considerable support in Denmark, where the government is set to invest €90 million in a fund dedicated to developing and promoting plant-based foods. The fund recently reported significant interest in its first round of grants, with over 100 applicants.
Earlier this year, the Danish Climate Council — an independent adviser to the country’s government — recommended that animal products with a high carbon footprint should be taxed, while two-thirds of the meat consumed by Danes should be replaced with plants. The government is also providing grants to farmers that produce plant-based products for human consumption, as part of a landmark agreement.
“Denmark is a proud agricultural country, where we currently grow feed at 80 percent of the agricultural area. Going forward, we need to focus more on producing food that can be eaten without first going through a cow or a pig. We are heading in a new and greener direction, and it will be supported by the new agricultural agreement,” said Frederik Madsen, head of secretariat at the Danish Plant-Based Food Association.