Not plant, not meat, all fungi: Nature’s Fynd looks to conquer meat and dairy alternative markets in Asia

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

US-based alternative protein firm Nature’s Fynd has its eye on both the alternative meat and alternative dairy markets in Asia. ©Nature's Fynd
US-based alternative protein firm Nature’s Fynd has its eye on both the alternative meat and alternative dairy markets in Asia. ©Nature's Fynd

Related tags fungi Singapore Asia

US-based alternative protein firm Nature’s Fynd has its eye on both the alternative meat and alternative dairy markets in Asia, and is confident it can tackle both of these simultaneously with its highly versatile fungi protein.

Nature’s Fynd recently raised US$350mn in funds and is already planning to build its first Asian facility in Singapore by 2023, highlighting its ambitions to break into the Asian market within the next few years.

“Singapore is a key market for us as we enter Asia and we are finding that it is an ideal base from both an operational and business development standpoint,”​ Nature’s Fynd Chief Marketing Officer Karuna Rawal told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“A key step for us [to enter the Asian market will of course be] to secure regulatory approvals - We expect to receive regulatory approval first in Singapore followed by additional key markets in Asia.”

Most alternative protein firms in the market today are focused on creating either strong meat alternatives or dairy alternatives – but this is not the case for Nature’s Fynd, which aims to tackle both categories simultaneously.

“Our fungi protein Fy is grown from a naturally occurring microbe with origins in Yellowstone National Park [using our] breakthrough fermentation technology called liquid-air interface fermentation that grows Fy 24/7, 365 days a year without the need for rain, sun, or soil,”​ said Rawal.

“[Importantly, Fy] is extremely versatile and can be made into a liquid, powder, or solid, and then into [either] meatless or dairy-free foods. This versatility has enabled us to simultaneously launch dairy-free and meatless products to market in the US, and we’re hoping to do the same in Asia.

“We know that demand for meat alternatives in Asia is on the rise, given that meat is an essential component of many if not most Asian cuisines, [and also] that dairy alternatives are an important consumer need in the Asian markets as well given the higher levels of lactose intolerance and dairy’s role in cuisine in markets like India.”

When asked for more detail on expected marketing strategies for Asia, she added that the firm is looking to possibly emulate a successful strategy which was used in the US previously.

“[Our] first-ever limited direct-to-consumer release of our Fy Breakfast Bundle [in February 2020], including Original Dairy-Free Cream Cheese and Original Meatless Breakfast Patties, showcased the versatility of Fy and sold out within 24 hours,”

“This is a strategy we are exploring for APAC as well in order to identify the right products for the market.

“[In addition], with the innate versatility of Fy, we are creating traditional Asian dishes for specific regions with an initial focus on Singapore, Hong Kong, Mainland China, and India.”

Nature’s Fynd current production facility is located in Chicago, USA.

Not plant, not animal

Rawal also stressed to us that Fy is not to be mistaken for a plant-based or animal-based protein.

“Fungi is closer to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom, but is in fact neither a plant nor an animal – it is its own kingdom,”​ she said.

“Plant-based proteins rely on traditional agricultural cycles - Soybean and pea crops take months to mature and, under most circumstances, their development is limited to specific growing seasons. Our ‘growing season’ never stops—we have the ability to produce 365 days per year, independent of traditional seasonal cycles.

“[It should also be noted] that we are not producing cell-based meat either – Fy is a complete vegan protein.”

Fy contains all 20 amino acids, including the nine essential ones, has 50% more protein than tofu and twice as much protein as raw peas and also boasts better digestibility compared to many other proteins.

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