July 6, 2022

Swedish food processing and packaging giant Tetra Pak has teamed up with alternative protein brand Mycorena to create a new alternative protein plant in Falkenberg, Sweden. It will produce Mycorena’s mycoprotein-based ingredient Promyc.

According to reports, the first phase of the plant will include the creation of mince-based products that will ultimately serve as ingredients for making alternative meat products.

This latest venture is part of Tetra Pak’s “long term” vision to become a “one-stop shop” in packaging and food processing which addresses the challenges around food safety and security, “through the exploration and advancement of innovative food sources” a spokesperson for the company said.

As well the potential to reduce carbon footprint, there is also scope for significantly reduced water usage and land compared to other, more traditional, protein sources, Tetra Pak said.

Capacity will be set at 5,000 tonnes for the short term, but the companies have secured land to expand up to 25,000 tonnes capacity in the medium term and 100 tonnes in the next three to four years. The commissioning side of the plant is expected to open in the first half of 2023 with full operations expected to be running the year after.

Charles Brand, executive vice president for processing solutions and equipment at Tetra Pak, commented: “The process of fungi fermentation utilises microorganisms that are bioprocessing powerhouses which can create high quality, nutritious proteins. They may be small, but they have the potential to make a big impact on building a more robust and diverse food system, cementing a better future for all.”

Brand added: “We are very excited to be working with Mycorena on this project for the innovation and advancement of the food supply chain that aligns with all three areas of our purpose – protecting food, people and the planet.”

Dr Ramkumar Nair, Founder and CEO, Mycorena continued: “Fungi fermentation is the future of the food industry and we are proud to be revolutionising this space. This new fermentation facility is a state-of-the-art production plant, which provides us with a technology blueprint that will be further expanded in Sweden and replicated globally. For such an ambitious journey, Tetra Pak is the ideal partner for us, not only because of their cutting-edge expertise in  processing, but we also have a shared ambition to develop a more sustainable food supply chain.”

Fungi fermentation is one aspect of innovative food fermentation, which takes natural, age-old processes and uses microbiology to turn microorganisms into tiny production centres that make protein-rich products including alternatives to meat, seafood and dairy. The process also serves to improve the texture and taste of traditional plant-based food products.

Tetra Pak’s relationship with Mycorena dates back to 2019 and forms part of the company’s drive to build an innovation ecosystem that helps open new opportunities in the areas of food safety, availability and sustainability. Tetra Pak’s innovation network includes a number of start-ups in various countries such as Sweden, France and the US, amongst others.

Mycorena also plans to expand its production capacity and extend its geographical reach by opening new factories across Europe and Asia in the near future.

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