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‘We’re not trying to mimic meat’: Danish start-up taps mycoprotein for tofu and meat alternatives

Tempty Foods was established by three students at the Danish Technical University Denmark (DTU) in 2021 who sought to develop viable alternatives to meat and tofu.

Unlike many players in the vegan space, however, Tempty is not interested in meat mimicry. Co-founder and CEO Martina Lokajova views this a unique opportunity.

“Since we do not try to mimic meat, we can focus on creating products that taste great in their own way and have good nutritional value,” ​she explained.

To develop its products, Tempty is using fungi-based ingredient mycoprotein. This week, the start-up announced it had secured supply with Swedish supplier Mycorena for its mycoprotein product Promyc.

Healthy and sustainable?

Promyc boasts strong nutritional credentials. It is low in fat, a source of fibre, contains all essential amino acids, and is sugar-free.

It also helps provide, alongside selected plant-based ingredients, the flavour and texture Tempty is looking for. “Some of the challenges we have been hearing from consumers around plant-based options were the lack of good texture and flavour,” ​said Tempty co-founder and CPO Ana Pejic.

“Using Promyc as a core ingredient for Tempty gives our product a texture and a bite and a base umami flavour which has been sought after by many consumers.”

From a sustainability perspective, the start-up’s first product ‘Tempty’, yields positive results. According to a preliminary life cycle assessment, one kilogram of Tempty is expected to produce ±0,8 kg of CO2 per kg.

It produces 40 times less CO2 than minced beef, three times less than minced pork, and two times less than tofu. “On top of that, the only food waste from our food production is currently a carrot peel,” ​noted the start-up.

Tempty is expected to be launched on the Danish market in Q3 of this year.

Mycoprotein collaboration

From Mycorena’s perspective, it hopes it can partner with other start-ups to increase consumer choice in the meat alternative space.

“Our ambition is to empower other brands to create innovative food products. We believe that collaborations like this will be the key to bringing the industry forward and lead to a much-needed innovation in consumer offerings,” ​said Ebba Fröling, COO at Mycorena.

Founder and CEO Ramkumair Nair similar suggested such partnerships can ‘unlock the full potential of innovation’. Being a relatively young company itself – Mycorena was founded in 2017 – the CEO believes it is a good fit for newcomers.

“It is important for start-ups to find partners who can understand their challenges as a young company,” ​he said.

“The fact that our team went through a similar journey not so long ago helps us to understand and support their goals and needs in the best way possible.”

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