Mycelium pioneer Bosque Foods (formerly Kinoko Labs) unveiled its whole-cut mushroom-based meat alternatives for the first time in Europe during a private tasting at the ProVeg Incubator in Berlin earlier this month, when key alt-protein and food-tech investors were treated to alt-pork fillets in Vietnamese bao buns and alt-chicken fillets, all created from the fungus superingredient mycelium.
We at vegconomist love everything mycelium and all things fermentation, so we were excited to speak with Founder and CEO, the lovely Isabella Iglesias-Musachio, to find out more.
Please introduce yourself and your mission
Our vision is to help create a more environmentally sustainable, equitable, and animal-free food system to protect our planet, while preserving our most cherished culinary traditions.
Our team has grown quickly over the past year and includes a passionate group of food technologists, microbiologists, biotechnologists, engineers, and startup experts.
Our goal is not to recreate meat alternatives that bleed or look exactly like meat, but instead create new alternatives that taste even better, are equally as ‘meaty’ and function the same, without the negative health or environmental toll of animal meat. In short, we are creating clean-label, minimally-processed whole-cuts like ‘chicken’ and ‘pork’ filets that deliver on the entire taste experience and nutrition without compromise.
Can you tell us a little about the rebrand?
Bosque Foods was formerly known as Kinoko Labs, and was renamed on January 1st, 2022. We decided to focus on the culinary experiences associated with our technology, and on the food staple that we want to become.
“Bosque”, from late Latin boscus, is a word borrowed from Spanish bosque – “Forest”. Its primary meaning is a gallery forest found growing along a riverbank or on the flood plain of a watercourse.
What kind of products does Bosque Foods produce?
At Bosque Foods, we are creating the next generation of meat alternatives, amazingly meaty and delicious!
We create products that we feel good about eating every day, and for us that means products that are minimally processed, nutrient-dense, and that leverage natural processes like fermentation to be better for the planet and better for us.
When we started Bosque Foods, we studied the market and understood that a growing segment of consumers feels just like us: wanting to reduce their meat consumption for health or environmental reasons, but feeling a lack of diversity in the products offered. Ultra-processed patties, nuggets high in sodium, a long list of ingredients full of synthetic chemicals and additives, and not very healthy!
Our products are mostly made of mycelium – the “roots” of fungi – that naturally replicate the fibrous texture and umami taste of meat. We are currently developing our pork filets and chicken cutlets.
How are these products manufactured, with what process?
We are cultivating our revolutionary ingredient – mycelium – through a process called solid-state biomass fermentation.
Our unique process lies at the frontier of fermentation, an ancient technique used for thousands of years, and biotechnological innovation. We are harnessing the power of fungi to bring mycelium-based whole-cut meat alternatives to the market.
The major advantages of our unique fermentation process are that we can grow our mycelium in a matter of days. We also use upcycled side streams as feedstock for our mycelium, thereby valorising low-cost biomass into high-value products. Plus, our ingredients can be grown using indoor agriculture, irrespective of climate and landscape limitations, resulting in a benign carbon footprint.
“Our unique process lies at the frontier of fermentation, an ancient technique used for thousands of years”
Finally, by leveraging the rapid growth rate of filamentous fungi and the lower production costs, we can ultimately be price competitive with animal-based meat sooner than other alternatives.
How clean are these products?
By leveraging mycelium’s inherent fibrous structure, we can naturally replicate the texture of meat without the need for a long list of texturizers, fillers, and binders found in current meat alternatives.
In addition, our products will be healthier and contain more nutrients than most meat-alternatives since mycelium is protein-rich, as well as high in fibre and micro-nutrients.
How much are these products processed?
Our products are minimally processed, as we leverage filamentous fungi to produce mycelium and naturally create meat-like structures. After we produce our mycelium, we simply mix in high-quality ingredients and form our products with less downstream processing than plant-based alternatives.
What are the next steps for Bosque Foods?
We recently graduated from IndieBio, the world’s leading biotech accelerator program in NYC, and simultaneously launched our seed round of funding.
We have developed several initial flagship products, including chicken and pork alternatives, which we debuted at IndieBio’s Demo Day Tasting event on January 27th in NYC, and an investor showcase in Berlin on February 9th.
With our seed round, we plan to accelerate our product development, scale up our production, and begin testing our products with consumers in the coming year. On the Team side, we are actively recruiting scientists skilled in fungal fermentation and food technologists ready to join a dynamic and diverse mission-driven team with sky-high ambitions to build the future of food.
We are happy to connect with interested scientists and investors in the alternative protein industry who want to join us on our journey of making the future of food more sustainable, nutritious, and tasty!
Feel free to get in touch at [email protected]