Fungi, Mushrooms & Mycelium

Schouten Europe Expands Plant-Based Portfolio With Mycoprotein Meat Alternatives

Schouten Europe, a Dutch plant-based protein company, announces the expansion of its product range with mycoprotein-based meat substitutes derived specifically from the Fusarium genus strain of fungi, known for its high protein content.

Mycoprotein is cultivated in controlled environments, utilizing a sustainable carbon source like glucose. This produces a fibrous, doughy mixture with a similar texture to meat, making it an effective ingredient for alternative meat products. Up until 2010, Quorn Foods had the exclusive rights to the application of this type of mycoprotein, with patent protections that allowed the company to be the sole producer of Fusarium-based mycoprotein for several years.

The rise of mycoprotein for alt meat

Since the expiration of these patents, other companies have been able to research, develop, and market their own mycoprotein products. This has led to companies like Revo Foods, Mycorena, ENOUGH, and now Schouten, developing alternative protein products with mycoprotein.

Beyond the textural benefits, Peter Schouten, CEO of Schouten, speaks to the environmental benefits of using mycoprotein. He states, “For us, an opportunity to take steps in implementing our vision, which states that we want to market increasingly less processed products with a low footprint.” The company further notes the reduced land and water usage of mycoprotein production compared to that of soy and beef.

Schouten Europe
© Schouten Europe

Schouten boasts one of the most extensive plant-based product ranges globally, supplying over 50 countries predominantly under private labels. It continues to expand its portfolio based on consumer demand and technological advancements.

In an interview with vegconomist, Henk Schouten, the Chairman at Schouten and previous General Manager for over 40 years, commented on the company’s portfolio and dedication to continued innovation: “Our company’s portfolio includes a wide range of vegan and vegetarian products, including burgers; meatballs and sausages; chicken and beef alternatives; fish and seafood alternatives; schnitzel and nuggets; meal components; and snacks and finger food. We are constantly innovating in the field of fish and chicken substitutes.”

Next growth phase for meat substitutes

And that has been especially clear over the last year with multiple new product launches, including plant-based egg whites made from soy protein, Southern Fried Chickenless Pops, and Vegetable Bites, a plant-based snack for kids. Schouten also collaborated with Grassa to investigate whether it was possible to produce a scalable alternative to soy protein using grass and worked alongside Agrifirm to investigate the possibility of making tempeh from local Dutch soy and fava beans.

Peter Schouten concluded, “We are facing a crucial period. By 2050, the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion people. The demand for proteins is growing significantly. At the same time, we must reduce the environmental impact of traditional protein production. This can only be achieved by collectively consuming much more plant-based protein. We have felt this responsibility for decades and are innovating in various areas to take the meat substitute category to the next growth phase.”

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