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  • Environmental problem

    Food waste at the consumer end is a well-studied problem. Still, a considerable part of wasted food is food materials that never reach the consumer but become a waste stream earlier in the production chain (due to faulty machinery, cleaning procedures, suboptimal production routines, spills, etc.). An estimated 9 MT of food is lost annually in the EU during primary production and 17 MT during processing.

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  • Our Solution

    Mycorena’s fungi fermentation process is currently performed using sugar or starch as feedstock. However, the process can be adapted to work with a wide range of different substrates, since the fungal strain used in the process is very adaptable. Therefore, side-streams and by products from a variety of food production and agricultural plants, such as bakeries, mills, pea, or oat processing, are all suitable for Mycorena’s process. By using these side-streams, that are currently either discarded or used for low-value applications such as biogas production, resources from food production are not lost but are fed back into the food production system. This circular approach increases resource efficiency in the whole food production chain and minimizes waste.

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The project’s overall goal is to demonstrate a new, innovative recycling process for food waste (bio-waste), which can be used for the production of several different food products targeting consumers. The highly innovative process will be tested under practical conditions (i.e., up-scaled, pre-commercial scale), treating food waste in Mycorena’s unique fungi fermentation process, which, in a second step, will be used to produce several food products (meat alternatives, veggie balls, nuggets, snacks) using Promyc® as a raw material. The purpose of Life re:food is to increase resource efficiency and decrease waste in the food production system through a circular approach.


Scale-up and validate the production process of a vegan fungi-based protein ingredient using side-streams as the main feedstock in the process.


Demonstrate and validate a sustainable and locally produced food product to consumers and food producers.


Disseminate the project’s results to problem-owners both in Europe and globally.



The project will be performed by Mycorena AB in close collaboration with Berte Qvarn AB, Falkenberg Municipality, and a number of end-user stakeholders representing the European food industries.

Project name LIFE20 ENV/SE/000266 Coordinating partner Mycorena AB
Project acronym LIFERE:FOOD Associated partner Berte Qvarnaktiebolag
Duration 09/2021-08/2024 Associated partner Falkenberg Municipality
Total eligible costs €3,060,421 Projectsupporters ICA Gruppen Aktiebolag
Total EU financing €1,683,229 Atria Sverige AB
Implementation site Falkenberg, Sweden Polarbrod Aktiebolag

The Now: State of the Art

Food Waste to Animal Feed

One common use case for food waste is to produce animal feeds. As much as 5 Mt worth of food side streams are used to manufacture feeds in EU-28 every year. Such initiatives keep nutrients in the food system, albeit through a ‘detour’ by which nutrients are passed through an animal. There are, however, challenges with this approach and opportunities for improvement. (Source: FUSIONS – Estimates on European Food Waste Levels)

First, it takes a lot of time for the nutrients to reach the consumer. It takes up to 36, 6, and 12 months to raise a slaughter-ready cow/pig/lamb, respectively. Thus, the recycling of food waste becomes a lengthy and inefficient process. Second, the feed conversion ratio of most livestock is poor, meaning that more resources are consumed in production than you get out from the process. The feed conversion ratio can be as bad as 25:1 for beef in terms of edible weight. If 5 Mt food waste are used as animal feed, the final protein output may be as low as 200 Kt, an unacceptably poor conversion. Moreover, using food waste for animal feed comes with a range of environmental issues. Waste needs to be transported to the site of livestock rearing, causing GHG emissions, and contributes to our continued dependence on animal protein and the detriments to climate caused by it. For an overview of the detrimental effects of animal protein production. Third, we turn our attention to economics. In a worst-case scenario, processors can receive any financial compensation for sending food waste to be used as animal feed and may even have to pay to get rid of their remains. In the best case, they may receive a minuscule payment of €100 – 300 per ton. By instead using the food waste in an application that is of higher value than animal feed, improvements could be made to the financial case for upcycling food waste.

Food waste to Biogas production

Today, food waste is also used in the production of biogas. This is especially the case in Sweden, where 6% of the total amount of gas produced utilizes waste from the food manufacturing &processing industries as a substrate. The main issue with this approach is that nutrients are taken out of the food system, with no potential of recycling it for human consumption. Approximately 66 Nm3 of biogas can be produced from 1 ton of food processing waste materials, which is equivalent to a feed conversion ratio of 10.6. Overall, it is clear that food waste could be much more beneficially used if kept within the food system. As is the case with using food waste to feed animals, biogas production is also time-consuming. Substrates need to be processed for 15-30 days, leading to lag times, and tying up of resources for an unnecessarily long time.

The Future: Our Upcycling Innovation

Mycorena has developed an innovative fermentation concept in which side streams and waste from food and agricultural
processing can be upcycled into Promyc, an innovative source of fungi protein.

The solution can prevent and/or upcycle massive amounts of food waste and contribute to the industry by outputting an entirely new source of nutrition. This potential is attributable to the proprietary type of fungus used. Mycorena has isolated a specific strain that grows exceptionally well in aqueous media and can grow on various substrates. This gives the concept potential for the upcycling of food industry by products & side streams and large-scale food manufacturing.

Mycorena’s process is highly efficient in several aspects. First, it has a feed conversion that is 3X-10X higher than existing alternatives. Second, a production cycle takes only 24h, compared to <36 months for livestock and <30 days for biogas. Third, it is highly conservative in using resources, requiring only 0.69 m2 of land and 0.37 m3 water to produce 1 kg of fungal biomass. This leads to low CO2e emissions, of only 1.14kgkg.

Promyc is an innovative form of mycoprotein that is significantly better than the commercially available alternatives. It has a beneficial nutritional profile high in protein, dietary fibre and essential minerals and vitamins. It has more protein (60% vs typical 40-50%) without additional calories, has a complete amino acid profile, more vitamin D than any competitor, higher concentrations of specific beneficial vitamins and minerals such as calcium (3X more) and potassium (2.5X more), and no risk of mycotoxins. Furthermore, taste panels have confirmed its excellent palatability as a raw material for food products, with virtually no complaints on taste, texture, or aroma.

summary of actions

This project will be ongoing for 3 years, with a start date of 01/09/2021 and expected end date being 31/08/2024.

  • A1 – Preparations

    Gearing up for project success through small-scale trials, securing permits & licenses, and establishing supply chain.

  • B1 – Scaleup

    Investments and adaptations of hardware and infrastructure, bringing the technology to 10% of full commercial scale.

  • B2 - Demonstration

    Pre-commercial demonstration of circular mycoprotein production with engagement from leading EU food manufacturers.

  • C1 – Monitoring

    Extraction of insights through continuous monitoring of process and product performance vs. predetermined targets.

  • C2 – Key Level Indicators

    Evaluation of inter- and intra-project performance through methodological collection and analysis of data.

  • D1 – Dissemination

    Marketing and communications activities to foster awareness-raising and widespread diffusion of the project’s results.

  • D2 – Replication

    Planning and preparations for long-term market uptake and duplication of key results across the EU and beyond.

  • E1 – Project management

    Dedicated steering and of project activities, milestones, deliverables and significant risks.


Want to know more details about EU life re:food project?

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