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Collaboration to develop 3D-printable mycoprotein receives €1.5 million funding boost

January 25, 2023

The food-tech companies Revo Foods and Mycorena are venturing into a joint project for reinventing 3D-printed food using customized mycoprotein. The EU-funded grant is allocated toward developing a mycoprotein optimized for additive food manufacturing to drive the commercialization of first-of-its-kind vegan seafood alternatives.

Sweden's Mycorena and Austria's Revo Foods first announced their collaboration in October 2022 and have now received funding from the European Union for the new developments. The project aims to develop new technologies and processes to produce mycoprotein suitable for additive food manufacturing. Together the companies applied for a research grant to drive the project further and enable the commercialisation of sustainable, whole-cut seafood options.

The collaborating partners have received a €1.5 million grant to pursue the project. The funding stems from Vinnova, Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG) and Eurostars, the largest international funding program aiming to enable collaborative R&D projects across international borders in the EU. The grants are highly competitive, proving that taking innovative mycoprotein solutions to the market and driving research within food-tech is of high interest. The funding follows the ‘Farm to Fork’ initiative by the EU, which focuses on innovation and sustainability in the food industry.

Mycoprotein has not yet been optimized for 3D extrusion despite the ingredient’s great potential, making the companies the first to attempt customizing it for producing whole-cut alternatives. One of the main advantages of mycoprotein is its inherent fibrous structure that perfectly mimics soft fish fibers' texture, which is difficult to achieve with current plant-protein processing techniques. Printing materials with long fibers is complex but has the potential to create unique products that could revolutionise the whole-cut market for meat/seafood alternatives.

Therefore, Mycorena is applying its expertise in fungi technology to improve the material and enable 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 extrusion process, optimising the mycoprotein’s suitability for 3D printing.

“At Mycorena we are constantly striving to be and do better, it is therefore a natural part of our process to keep improving our technology to suit the needs of the next generation of food products," commented Paulo Teixeira, Chief Innovation Officer, Mycorena. "Getting this recognition from such an attractive and competitive initiative such as Eurostars further emphasizes that the technology we are developing is really an important part of creating a sustainable food system.”

Revo Foods has already revolutionized the world of additive food manufacturing with its plant-based alternatives to salmon and tuna. The first products from the company are currently sold in more than 20 countries in Europe. The ambition of the Austrian startup is to offer the best plant-based seafood on the market, which might include mycoprotein products in the future.

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

The meat-like properties of fungi provide endless opportunities in additive food processing, and the significant funding allocated to the project will enable the partners to develop innovative products to drive the market. To take the project further, Mycorena and Revo Foods will test the material on a larger scale. The combination of mycoprotein and additive food manufacturing is a breakthrough innovation to be transferred into the market for sustainable meat/seafood alternatives and contributes to building a resilient food system.

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