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Sustainability Snapshot #19

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Lumenstream is committed to helping the world say yes to a sustainable future. That’s why, biweekly, we like to share the positive steps other businesses and countries are taking to have less of a footprint on the planet. 

We think that’s news worth spreading. 

Luckily, a lot of people are fighting the good fight.

This week we focus on the wonderful magic of mushrooms. They might be part of the answer to a more sustainable planet.

First of all…

What is Fungi Protein?

Well, it starts with mycelium- the roots of mushrooms. In its digestive process, the mycelium releases enzymes into its environment, breaking down the resources surrounding it. It then turns these broken-down sugars into nutrient-dense proteins. This process is essentially fermentation.

Harnessing this natural process has allowed companies to transform the mycelium into a whole host of different products. So far, there are alternatives for meat, styrofoam packaging, leather and plastic.

Meet The Fungi Protein Association

Major leaders in fermented fungi protein have allied together to form the Fungi Protein Association (FPA). Big names such as Quorn, Nature’s Fynd and Good Food Institute, among others, plan to up the ante on fungi protein, bringing more development in public policy, consumer research and more.

Interestingly, using fungi protein as food is not new. In 1985, Quorn released a savoury pie in Sainsburys, the first fungi protein for public consumption. Since then, it has grown in popularity, taken on multiple forms, and has been given ‘world-saving’ status by many. The FPA pointed to a study published in Nature (a scientific journal) that found that if globally we replaced a fifth of our beef consumption with mycoprotein, we could reduce deforestation and its related CO2 emissions by 50%.

Marco Bertacca, CEO of Quorn Foods, commented: “The world needs more protein, and fungi fermentation offers a delicious, sustainable way to do just that. We’re excited to partner with our fellow fungi enthusiasts to raise awareness and appreciation of the wonderful ways fungi can improve human health and the health of our planet.” 

Mushrooms Get Recognised at Luxury Innovation Summit

Aside from being a foodstuff, fungi protein is also a sustainable material source. Company MycoWorks was the Fashion Category Winner at the Luxury Innovation Awards 2022. The award recognised MycoWorks for their Fine Mycelium™ patented technology and their material Reishi™ as an innovative natural fabric.

“This award marks a great step forward in our journey to grow the future of materials: a validation from legendary luxury industry leaders praising the uniqueness of Reishi™.” – Fred Martel, MycoWorks SVP of Sales & Business Development.

Of course, people will want to see a more affordable price tag and a more readily available material before they start shopping for it.

In the last Sustainability Snapshot we talked about sustainable packaging, it seems that mycelium may play a more prominent role in that arena too.

In any case, keep an eye on mushrooms. They may just save the planet yet.


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