• BonRill: “Oyster Mushrooms Are Not a Plant and Not a Vegetable, They’re Meaty, But They’re Not Meat, They Are Imperfectly Perfect”



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    Belgium’s BonRill produces a huge range of salads, pates, fish alternatives like salmon and tuna, sauces such as aioli, sausages, cold cuts, fish burgers and fish sticks, and a deluxe veggie burger – all based on the magic of the oyster mushroom.

    Who is BonRill and what does it stand for?
    BonRill isn’t your average food brand, and Caroline is no average leading lady.

    Today, BonRill is in the hands of Caroline Vercauteren. Being a woman, also a mom and in a previous life even a pharmacist, Caroline has witnessed from different perspectives how our food choices have changed over the years. She is 100% assisted by CEO Alain Monteyne and his son Arthur Monteyne (management assistant).

    Because at BonRill, the why and the how are way more important than the what.

    BonRill
    ©BonRill

    The rich history of the Belgian family business breathes passion & artisanship. The traditional butcher family Vandromme has transformed into a contemporary flexible food brand, BonRill.

    “We respect differences and choices. In fact, we admire them”

    With BonRill, we launched a new vibe into the company. One that is adjusted to today’s dietary needs. We now produce foods for today’s and tomorrow’s conscious foodies. We want to produce foods so we can become flexitarians without giving in to taste, quality, and variety. However, we don’t judge, we don’t preach. We respect differences and choices. In fact, we admire them.

    Apart from our flexible foods range, we want to give people food for thought too.

    We want to make them conscious of how we produce our foods and what impact our production has on the quality of our products, the local economy and the environment in general. We want to share our knowledge and practices on how we produce sustainable foods that are adapted to today’s and tomorrow’s dietary choices & needs. We want to make them aware of how food choices influence their wellbeing.

    BonRill
    ©BonRill

    You make meat and fish alternatives and other products based on oyster mushrooms, what are the advantages of these mushrooms?
    All the BonRill products are based on oyster mushrooms.

    The oyster mushroom can be grown on any location (e.g., vertical farming in cities) and can grow on residual products from other industries (coffee, breweries, …). By doing so, the footprint can always be kept to a minimum. There is no need for large agricultural space to be able to grow the oyster mushroom. 

    The ingredients used in the products from BonRill are grown by local farmers who want to make the switch from animals to vegetables. They can use the same infrastructure. So BonRill let ingredients grow local and helps farmers make the switch to plants

    Oyster Mushrooms are not a plant and not a vegetable, they’re meaty, but they’re not meat, they are imperfectly perfect. There are many advantages in using the oyster mushroom as a base:

    • Sustainable, locally grown raw material (soy gets more and more negative connotations in terms of side effects & durability)
    • Rich Umami flavour
    • Nutritionally strong: natural source of micro-nutrients and high in fibre
    • Gives a great bite to our products
    BonRill
    ©BonRill

    What kind of alternative products do you offer?
    BONRILL is making meat and fish alternatives based on a local ingredient: the oyster mushroom.

    BONRILL produces meat and fish alternatives that are easily recognizable and it’s very hard to taste any difference between the plant-based product and the “traditional” product. Not only is it important to have the right taste but the bite and mouthfeel are feeling familiar. By making these products, BONRILL is convinced that the impact is big(ger) because larger groups will be convinced to eat plant-based. We lower the threshold.

    We started with spreads based on these oyster mushrooms – not just a mashed vegetable spread, but really ‘charcuterie’. There was a lack in the market of good alternatives to existing salad spreads. Most salad alternatives are more vegetable mixtures and lack the biting experience of a spread-salad with meat or fish in it.

    Fishburger BonRill
    ©BonRill

    The Vegan Sea (Fish) burger is a perfect substitute for Fish Sticks or any other fish preparations. The burger has locally grown oyster mushrooms as a base and it’s hard to tell the difference with a traditional fish burger in bite and taste. Shocked by the Seasick documentary, BONRILL felt it had to come up with a reaction, so the company worked hard to develop a product for the world that had a real impact because it’s great in taste, has the perfect “fish” bite, is allergen-free and has a very low footprint.

    What are your export plans, in which countries do you want to start in the near future?
    Together with the team, we see it as our challenge to make tasty foods, with the highest quality standards and with a positive impact on health and the environment.

    That challenge is driving Caroline and her team every day: creating great products, made by a great team to be sold in a great world. @BonRILL, we act local, but we think global.

    We already export to Denmark, next year we normally can put the Netherlands and Germany on our list. Hopefully, we can conquer Europe bit by bit with our oyster mushrooms.

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