25 JANUARY 2023

Alongside Austrian start-up Revo Foods, Mycorena is venturing into a collaborative project to reinvent 3D-printed food using customised mycoprotein for the first time. Mycorena and Revo Foods first announced their collaboration in early October and have now received significant funding from the EU to develop the project further. The grant is allocated toward developing new technologies and processes to produce mycoprotein optimised for 3D printing. The project's purpose is to drive the commercialisation of the first-of-its-kind whole-cut seafood option in the alternative protein space.

The collaborating partners were chosen for the highly competitive EU grant and have received a €1.5 million grant to pursue the project. Funding partners of the grant are Vinnova and Eurostars, the largest international funding programme aiming to enable collaborative R&D projects across international borders in the EU. The funding follows the ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative by the EU, which focuses on innovation and sustainability in the food industry. With nearly 900 applications for the sought-after grant, Mycorena being rewarded funding is a testament to the importance of bringing innovative mycoprotein solutions to the market, which the project aims to do shortly.

Despite its great potential, mycoprotein has never been optimised for application in 3D printing. The companies will be the first to develop a customised mycoprotein and produce 3D-printed whole cuts. One of the main advantages of mycoprotein is its inherent fibrous structure that perfectly mimics soft fish fibres' texture, which is difficult to achieve with current plant-protein processing techniques. Therefore, the project has the potential to revolutionise the whole-cut market using the brand-new optimised mycoprotein. Printing materials with long fibres are generally complex as they tend to entangle during the printing process but could result in next-level products.

Therefore, Mycorena is applying its expertise in fungi technology to tailor-make the material for commercial production. The Swedish company has developed a process to treat the protein to tailor the structural properties and reduce the risk of entanglement in the printing process, optimising the mycoprotein’s suitability for 3D printing. Mycorena has applied for a patent for the unique process that is bound to be a game-changer in 3D printing food.

“At Mycorena, we are constantly striving to be and do better. Therefore, it is a natural part of our process to keep improving our technology to suit the needs of the next generation of food products. Getting this recognition from an attractive and competitive initiative like Eurostars further emphasises that the technology we are developing is an important part of creating a sustainable food system,” says Kristina Karlsson, R&D Manager at Mycorena.

Mycorena’s collaborative partner Revo Foods has already revolutionised the world of 3D printing with its alternatives to salmon and tuna, currently sold in over 20 countries. The ambition of the Austrian company is to offer the best plant-based seafood on the market, and they are now investigating the potential of mycoprotein to expand their product range beyond the plant-based segment. Mycorena believes that collaborative partnerships enable great possibilities for creativity and innovation, allowing new technologies to develop.

“We are really happy for the opportunity to explore the exciting new ingredient of mycoprotein in our production process. Mycorena is a leading company in this space. Together with our new process technology for whole-cut alternatives, we believe we can bring seafood alternatives and additive food manufacturing to the next level,” says Niccolo Galizzi, Head of Product Development at Revo Foods.

The meat-like properties of fungi provide endless opportunities in 3D printing, and the funding allocated to the project will enable the partners to develop innovative products to drive the market. The untapped potential of mycoprotein could change the landscape of 3D printing. To take the project further, Mycorena and Revo Foods will test the material on a larger scale. The mycoprotein solution is a breakthrough innovation to be transferred into the market for sustainable fish substitutes and contribute to building a resilient food system.  

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