Swedish startup Millow seeking to raise €6.3M to popularise meat substitutes

Meatballs based on Millows technology. Image credit: Millow.

Swedish food tech startup Millow is looking to raise €6.3 million to introduce its mycelium and oat-based meat substitutes to the public.

The startup utilises an innovative fermentation process called MUTE (Mycelium Utilized Texture Engineering) to produce hybrid products with a ratio of 50 percent fungi and 50 percent plants. The patented technology is built upon the work of Mohammad Taherzadeh, a biotech professor at the University of Borås.

Millow claims its production approach is different from other hybrid methods. Rather than food processing, Millow describes its production model as “controlled environment agriculture.”

“The S-unit technology is modular which makes it very convenient to scale compared to traditional mycelium production technologies,” CEO Esmaeil Taherzadeh said.

“Our fermentation system is between solid and submerged fermentation. It’s much faster and way more efficient compared to solid state fermentation and uses a lot less energy and water than submerged fermentation.”

Esmaeil Taherzadeh, CEO of Millow

Millow’s fermentation process takes around 12 to 16 hours. By mixing oats and fungi, which will consume the starch contained in the oats, Millow can manufacture meat alternatives with favourable textures and nutritional values.

Meaty texture

The startup’s meat substitutes can grow in any shape or form, depending on the containers they grow in. The non-animal meat contains a balanced nutritional profile comprising protein, vitamins, and minerals. Furthermore, the production process is cost-efficient because it does not require expensive downstream processing or stainless steel fermentation containers.

Staffan Hillberg, chairman of Millow, explained that the startup’s products are unlike tempeh — although they seem similar. Millow’s meat substitutes do not disintegrate when cooked in liquid. They also taste meatier, and their texture and mouthfeel closely resemble real meat.

Millow said it plans to target the food service industry. Its meat substitutes can be shipped fresh or frozen to food producers or sold directly to consumers as a single-package product or a component in prepared meals.

The startup has a small pilot facility in Gothenburg, and it aims to establish a larger facility to boost its production capacity to 20,000 tons a year.

Millow earlier signed an agreement with “one of the biggest players in the Nordics.” The company has also received the green light from the Swedish National Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) to produce and distribute its products.

Techarenan News/Monok

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