After steaks and plant-based milks, yogurt is brewing a new future in the veggie aisle

After steaks and plant-based milks, yogurt is brewing a new future in the veggie aisle

With soy milk, coconut or almond… These are the most common options when it comes to plant-based yogurts. But in a context where it is estimated that the global market for vegan foods will grow each year by 10.7% by 2030, according to Grand View Research, yogurt is the subject of a whole host of innovations to diversify more recipes and convince consumers to reduce their animal protein intake.

A yogurt with mushrooms… This is the brand new recipe for which the American press is enthusiastic. We reassure you, there are no oyster mushrooms or porcini mushrooms in the pot and the recipe does not taste like button mushrooms either. The ingredient actually replaces the cow’s milk usually used to prepare yogurt. A food innovation from an American start-up based in Chicago, called Nature’s Fynd, which developed a protein after carrying out research for NASA. This production is quite surprising since it is based on the fermentation of a fungal strain, taken from the geysers of Yellowstone National Park, in the United States. Specifically, scientists cultivate this mushroom in a liquid solution based on biomass. In the same way that a bovine cell is fed nutrients under a microscope to become a steak in vitro, fungi are fed to produce proteins. In a few days we obtain a mass of filaments which can be compared to muscle fibers. The result can then be in solid, powder or liquid form.

It is precisely this ingredient that the Nature’s Fynd brand – named after the mushroom protein called Fy – uses in its food products, which obtained the green light from the American health safety watchdog in June 2021 (FDA). Benefiting from the support of renowned business angels such as Bill Gates and the former vice-president of the United States Al Gore as well as Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the company first tasted its protein in plant-based cheeses. as well as in sausage patties. It is now found in yogurts that the American distribution giant Whole Foods (bought by Amazon in 2017) will list next January.

Nature’s Fynd’s arguments unsurprisingly come under the environmental register to convince, arguing that the cultivation of this protein generates 94% less greenhouse gases compared to raising beef. More generally, we seriously rely on these mushroom filaments to replace animal proteins. Other companies, such as Meati Foods, have already developed cutlets made from what is more often called mycelium, while Myforest Foods has developed bacon from this same material, neither plant nor animal. And this is only the beginning because various reports from research firms have already measured the dynamism of this emerging market, such as Straits Research which estimates potential growth at 7.8% per year by 2030, to represent 5.21 billion dollars by this deadline.

Except that the environmental problem is associated with that of taste. Vegetable yogurt is obviously not a new thing; Soy milk recipes have been on the market for a long time. But, it must be recognized that their flavor does not satisfy all taste buds. In Europe, a player in the delivery of fresh meals thinks they have found the solution: make a compromise by combining cow’s milk with the recipe for a soy dessert. Foodchéri, which has converted into a lunch delivery service for businesses, will launch a yogurt called Mi-Mi next January. Presented as a hybrid formula, which allows you to consume more proteins than in a soy milk pot, but contains fewer fatty acids since the proportion of cow’s milk has been lowered, this novelty illustrates this third way which could put a end to a binary offer that has always separated foods based on animal proteins on one side and everything plant-based on the other.

Last spring, a former engineer for the sulphurous Beyond Meat brand, which produces meatless steaks recognizable by their blood-red color, launched his own hybrid alternatives. In Paul’s Table brand products, there is indeed a little meat. To resolve the issue of the taste of plant-based steaks, this new recipe actually uses collagen and fat to make its pulled pork more flavorful in particular.