A Protein That Makes Vegan Meat Taste Even Meatier Has Been Approved By The FDA For A Boston Startup

vegan burger sliced down center

Vegan meat is poised to grow a lot meatier, thanks to Motif FoodWorks, a food technology company. HEMAMI, a heme-binding myoglobin protein that mimics the flavor and scent of typical animal-based meat, was recently launched by the Boston-based firm. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted the substance Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) designation, and it is now commercially available.

Despite the fact that myoglobin is prevalent in cow muscle tissue, Motif has discovered a technique to express it in a genetically modified yeast strain. Motif’s HEMAMI, which was developed utilizing precise technology, has the same properties as animal-derived protein and may be utilized to enhance the flavor and aroma of plant-based burgers, sausages, and other meats. The major function of animal-derived myoglobin is flavor, but when exposed to oxygen, it also gives off a red colour. The FDA is considering the Color Additive Petition that gives HEMAMI its distinctive red coloration.

The Key Ingredient: Heme

Taste, flavor, and texture, according to the business, prevent two-thirds of Americans from incorporating plant-based meat alternatives into their diet. This information assisted Motif in determining the value of a meaty, umami flavor to customers, as well as the gap between plant-based alternatives and animal-based meat products.

“Plant-based foods have the potential to drive a more sustainable future, but that doesn’t matter unless people actually eat them… HEMAMI enables a whole new taste and experience level for meat alternatives that a wider group of plant-based and flexitarian consumers will crave,” Motif FoodWorks CEO Jonathan McIntyre stated.

Motif raised $226 million in a Series B fundraising round earlier this year. The company is going forward with growing and commercializing the medicine now that it has acquired FDA approval. As a result, Motif is constructing a 65,000-square-foot facility in Northborough, Massachusetts, which will house a research and development center as well as pilot plants for fermentation, ingredient manufacture, and final product manufacturing. The site’s food technology and final goods will be used for consumer testing and customer sampling, as well as validating process procedures before being sent to large-scale manufacturing partners. The facility is planned to be operational by the end of 2022.

“To execute on our holistic innovation process and rapidly develop and commercialize our proprietary technologies and products, we need to control the facilities and capabilities required to test, validate, and scale our food-tech… We look forward to the opportunities and innovation our new facility will bring to Motif and our customers,” McIntyre said.

Impossible Foods Utilizes Heme

Heme protein is thought to be a vital element in improving plant-based meats for general consumption. The FDA granted Impossible Foods GRAS status for its proprietary soy-based heme, which is a key ingredient in the company’s main product, the Impossible Burger, in 2018. To acquire a GRAS letter, the company was initially asked to submit further details on its heme. Despite the fact that the FDA does not require food to be tested on animals, Impossible Foods chose to test their heme on rats.

“Nobody is more committed or working harder to eliminate exploitation of animals than Impossible Foods… Avoiding the dilemma was not an option. We hope we will never have to face such a choice again, but choosing the option that advances the greater good is more important to us than ideological purity,” Impossible Foods founder Patrick O. Brown said in a statement entitled “The Agonizing Dilemma of Testing on Animals,” dated August 2017. 

Impossible Foods has expanded its product lines to include sausages, chicken nuggets, pigs, and meatballs since getting FDA certification in 2018, and the business has raised over $2 billion to fund its objective of replacing all animal foods with plant-based alternatives by 2035. Impossible goods are currently available in more than 22,000 grocery stores and nearly 40,000 restaurants around the world.




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