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A new spin on replacing pork and chicken gets a multi-million dollar windfall

Bosque Foods isn't the first company to try using mycelium (the root structures of mushrooms) as a replacement for whole cuts of meat, but they're among the first to try a new approach to growing them.

Companies like FootPrint Coalition's portfolio investment MyForest Foods and other U.S.-based startups like Meati, and The Better Meat Co. are working on bacon, pork, and chicken replacements using mycelium. And over in Europe, Libre Foods and Keen 4 Green are also working to take mycelium meats to market.

All of these companies are racing to provide consumers with meat alternatives that don't require as much farmland, water, or industrial scale animal slaughter as traditional meat consumption.

What makes the Berlin-based Bosque Foods different is the approach it takes to growing mycelium. Using a process known as solid state fermentation means that the company has fewer inputs and can make its product more cheaply than existing offerings, according to an interview Bosque Foods founder Isabella Iglesias-Musachio gave to the publisher Green Queen.

It also means that Bosque can use different forms of food waste for its inputs -- which provides a circular way to get rid of agricultural waste from traditional farming industries,

Mushrooms and their mycelial "root" structures have so many applications that they're being used to replace lots of different foods and materials made from animals. They can be replacements for leather as well as meat and in both applications they're far better for the environment than the industrial meat and leather industries.

"Directing the growth of mushroom fibers may not sound like a big deal, but this evolution in biofabrication stands to transform the way we manufacture, consume and live," wrote MyForest Foods co-founder, Eben Bayer, in an op-ed for Scientific American. "What are the possibilities? Mycelium's fast-growing fibers produce materials used for packaging, clothing, food and construction—everything from leather to plant-based steak to scaffolding for growing organs. Mycelium, when harnessed as a technology, helps replace plastics that are rapidly accumulating in the environment."

At Bosque Foods, the solid state fermentation approach it's taking to whole cut meat replacements with mycelium, has led to $3 million in new investments from a cohort of American, European and Asian investors. Berlin-based FoodLabs joined with Hong Kong's Happiness Capital and SOSV, Blue Impact, and Blue Horizon in funding the company.

“We’re seeing a major shift in the alternative protein space as fermentation technology is set to replace many plant-based products, combining flavor and texture with a short time to market," Christian Guber, Senior Associate at FoodLabs, told Green Queen. "However, there are few solutions available addressing whole-cut meats. Bosque Foods has developed a fascinating approach that addresses this problem using the power of mycelium.”

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