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Product, Service & Design Innovation
New Partnerships Putting Mycoprotein at Center of Sustainable Food Future

A new MycoTechnology partnership will scale production of mycoprotein and eliminate food waste in Oman; while Quorn and Drew Barrymore expand their partnership with a new educational series, “Myco101.”

MycoTechnology, Oman Investment Authority partner to scale alternative protein in the region

Image credit: Mycotechnology, Inc

The Oman Investment Authority (OIA) and Colorado-based foodtech innovator MycoTechnology, Inc. have established a groundbreaking joint venture that will use locally grown dates in Oman to produce high-quality, mushroom-based protein. The two parties will collaborate on a state-of-the-art production facility in Oman to scale up and commercialize this novel source of nutritious, sustainable protein. It represents the next generation of innovation driven by MycoTechnology's proprietary fermentation platform, which harnesses mushroom mycelia to create transformative ingredients. The new joint venture will operate as Vital Foods Technologies LLC.

"MycoTechnology is excited to be co-operating with Oman Investment Authority to build this highly innovative food oasis in the desert,” said MycoTechnology CEO Alan Hahn. “It represents a breakthrough in the quest to bring food security to Oman and the wider region. This initiative will be transformative — and not just for the Middle East. We are foraging for the future, unlocking the ancient power of culinary mushrooms to feed the world's growing population with a solution that's been beneath our feet all along."

OIA is Oman's sovereign wealth fund — entrusted with managing, investing and developing the Sultanate's national and international assets. The strategic partnership between OIA and MycoTechnology is in line with Oman Vision 2040, which aims to attract modern technologies to the country. It links OIA's local knowledge and public sector relationships with MycoTechnology's cutting-edge technology, aspires to transform the food supply landscape in the region and reflects OIA's commitment to achieving a sustainable future by increasing local food production.

"In our international investments at OIA, we target localizing advanced modern technologies. Our partnership with MycoTechnology will deliver substantial local benefits as we pioneer the proteins of tomorrow,” says Ibrahim Al Eisri, Director of Private Equity at OIA. “It will support our mission to enhance food security, diversify the Omani economy, and create well-paying jobs in an eco-friendly new sector. This joint venture will be the foundation that enables Oman to foster a new generation of talent in the sphere of food technology, here and further afield."

Oman is one of the world's top 10 producers of dates, growing about 400 thousand tonnes per year. However, more than half of that currently goes to waste or animal feed. The new joint venture is expected to upcycle a significant portion of these excess dates, using the natural sugar present in the fruit as a source of fuel for the production of mushroom-based protein.

Construction of the new facility is due to start in early 2023 on a 10-hectare site. Commercial production is scheduled to begin by the second quarter of 2025, with up to 16,000 tonnes of dates to be processed each year. Once operational, the partners intend for the new facility to evolve into the Middle East's leading innovation hub for food technology.

Quorn, Drew Barrymore launch animated crash course in 'Myco101'

Image credit: Quorn/YouTube

Late last year, mycoprotein brand Quorn launched a multi-year collaboration with actress Drew Barrymore and welcomed her as its first-ever CMO (“Chief Mom Officer”). Since then, they’ve been working to further Quorn’s mission to provide healthy, lower-impact protein options and educate consumers on mycoprotein – the sustainable protein invented by Quorn decades ago (the brand launched in 1985), long before it was trendy — and its role in a sustainable food future.

Today, they release “Myco101” — an animated crash course in all things mycoprotein.

The shorts, by esteemed animator Jim Tews, are voiced by “Professor Barrymore” with a special appearance from “ChiQin” – an animated version of her co-star from her original ad for Quorn entitled “Best Friends.” The Myco101 animations help break down the unique and intricate details of mycoprotein — the meat-free, soy-free, whole-food super protein in all Quorn products; as well as the process for making it — fermentation, the same process that creates other favorite foods including bread, wine, beer and cheese. Because of the unique taste and texture of mycoprotein, Quorn products replicate the experience of eating meat in a sustainable way with far less impact on the environment.

“As the inventors of mycoprotein, Quorn is at the forefront of food sustainability," Barrymore says. “These animated shorts really encompass the brand’s lighthearted spirit while raising awareness around the amazing planetary and health benefits of mycoprotein. Beyond Quorn, I truly believe fungal proteins are the next big thing. From housing materials to technology and even high-end fashion, we’re seeing it take shape in so many incredible ways. I’m proud to be able to help tell this story and champion something I believe in.”