Fi Global Insights is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Mycelium innovation delivers centre-of-plate meat alternatives

Article-Mycelium innovation delivers centre-of-plate meat alternatives

© Bosque Foods Bosque Foods - copyright Bosque Foods (1).jpg
Bosque Foods uses mycelium to create a wide range of product applications, including sustainable and cost-competitive whole-cut meat and seafood alternatives.

Bosque Foods has developed a novel fermentation approach that enables the company to produce mycelium that is naturally filamentous. This, says CEO Isabella Iglesias-Musachio, is key to significantly reducing the need for high downstream processing techniques.

We can achieve this at much lower costs than our competitors, making us not only more efficient but also more cost-effective,” she says. “We've also revolutionised the harvesting process by incorporating automation techniques, minimising labour requirements, and streamlining our overall operations.” 

The end result, says Iglesias-Musachio, is mycelium that accurately replicates the whole-muscle structure of meat. For this, Bosque Foods was recognised as a finalist in the most innovative plant-based or alternative ingredient category of Fi Europe’s Start Up Innovation Challenge.

The Challenge provided us with a valuable platform to connect with industry professionals and showcase our solutions and products,” she says. “This engagement has been instrumental in expanding our network and raising awareness about our brand and offerings.”

Identifying a gap in the market

The inspiration behind Bosque Foods stemmed from recognising a significant gap in the market for whole-cut meat alternatives. "Existing alternative protein options are highly processed, laden with fats, and lacking in essential nutrients,” says Iglesias-Musachio. “Consumers want alternatives that seamlessly integrate into their daily diets, yet available choices have tended to fall short.”

Bosque Foods therefore set out to develop centre-of-plate meat alternatives that would not only satisfy consumer preferences but also provide a nutritious and wholesome option. “Leveraging our understanding of consumer preferences and market dynamics, we embarked on the journey to create Bosque Foods,” says Iglesias-Musachio. “As a small startup, we encountered numerous challenges, such as limited financial and personnel resources.”

The company’s most formidable challenge however was the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Bosque Foods was founded in 2021, just before the pandemic struck,” she recalls. “The pandemic disrupted our operations, particularly in terms of accessing proper lab space essential for conducting experiments and viability studies.”

Securing market penetration

Despite the setback, the company improvised with the limited space available, ensuring that research and development efforts continued. “We managed to stay afloat and emerge stronger,” says Iglesias-Musachio. “Today, we have grown into a team of over 15 employees, with a fully equipped lab in Berlin.”

In order to secure this market position, Bosque Foods has pioneered a number of innovations. “Our fermentation method is a standout feature,” she says. “As mentioned earlier, we've developed a novel fermentation approach that enables us to produce mycelium in a naturally filamentous form.”

The company’s go-to-market strategy is another factor. “While many players in our industry primarily focus on consumer packaged goods (CPG) and retail channels, we've taken a different approach,” says Iglesias-Musachio. “Recognising the growing opportunity in the foodservice sector, we've prioritised this market segment for our initial launch. By targeting foodservice first, we're tapping into a rapidly expanding market and positioning ourselves for early success.”

Commercial launch and scaling up

Bosque Foods is actively engaged with customers across various channels, including food manufacturers keen to explore opportunities for producing joint-label products. The company recently announced a partnership with Matthew Kenney, a renowned vegan chef who has publicly endorsed Bosque Foods products.

“Our focus on taste, texture, and nutritional value ensures that our customers receive a high-quality product that meets their expectations,” says Iglesias-Musachio. “We've been rigorously testing our products for over 12 months now, and the feedback we've received has been exceptional. Several chefs who have sampled our product described it as 'the best meat alternative they've tried so far.' This positive feedback underscores the quality and appeal of our product in the market.”

Moving forward, the company is busy preparing for the commercial launch of its first product in the US, planned for 2024. “This milestone represents the hard work and dedication from our team, and we’ll be thrilled to see our products featured on menus across the country,” says Iglesias-Musachio.

“In addition to our commercial launch, we're also gearing up for the exciting challenge of scaling up production. This presents an opportunity for growth and development for our entire team, and we're looking forward to the journey of expanding our operations to meet increasing demand.”