The Half-Meat, Half-Mushroom Burger
An Israeli startup has developed a hybrid burger that’s half-meat, half-mushroom.
It’s aimed at carnivores who don’t want to give up on the taste or texture of real beef, but want to cut their intake.
The hybrid formulation – called 50CUT – replaces half the meat content with three edible mushroom mycelium species.
“Our mushroom-derived products address the reality that there is a sizable population of carnivores who are simply not willing to compromise on beef’s rich taste, nutritional boost, and textural experience,” said Shalom Daniel, CEO of Mush Foods.
“50CUT is tailored specifically for hybrid meat products to satisfy flexitarians and carnivores with the unique sensation they crave, while easing the impact of global meat consumption.”
Mush Foods grows its mycelium – a thread-like, root-like underground system of fungi – by feeding it food waste from local manufacturers – which nourishes the mushrooms that grow above ground.
It requires no agricultural land, uses minimal energy and water, and doesn’t depend on a certain season or climate, making it a very sustainable alternative.
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Dan Levanon, Chief Scientific Officer at the company, said: “By combining different types of mycelium we can create a unique ingredient which perfectly pairs with the particular taste, formability, texture, aroma, and even color of beef.
“Once you add 50CUT to ground beef, it acts like a sponge and absorbs all the water, juiciness, fat, aromatic compounds, and assumes the visual appearance of the beef.
“From the full organoleptic and nutritional perspectives, 50CUT functions as the perfect complement to beef, enhancing its taste.”
In 2022, a pilot study of 4,000 participating employees from financial institutions tried 11 main dish options, and gave Mush Foods’s product the highest score.
Mycelium is a whole protein that contains all the essential amino acids, in addition to fiber and vitamins. The company says its natural umami flavor eliminates the need for added flavors, and in the hybrid formulation it actually boosts the flavor of the meat and adds to its texture and aroma.
Mush Foods was founded in 2021, and is based in Tel Aviv.