With nearly five million visitors each year, Yellowstone National Park is one of the most popular summer destinations in the country. But this year, tourists will be dazzled by more than Grand Prismatic Springs. The national park is adding vegan products to its general store and lodges made using mushrooms discovered in the park.
Chicago-based Nature’s Fynd developed “Fy protein” – a nutritional mushroom protein with all 20 amino acids, high in fiber, minerals and vitamins – from a microbe that founder and scientist Mark Kozubal, Ph.D., discovered in 2008 at Yellow Stone. Fy protein is the central ingredient in the company’s selection of dairy-free breakfast sausage patties and cream cheeses. The plant-based products use a proprietary microbial fermentation process that is significantly more environmentally friendly than traditional animal agriculture.
Yellowstone guests will be able to try the innovative alternative to meat at seven national park hotels and lodges this summer. Nature’s Fynd meatless sausage will first be available in breakfast buffets, and eventually customers can order breakfast bowls featuring the vegan crumbles. The company will also distribute its vegan cream cheese, with original flavors and chives and onion. Cream cheese and sausages will be available for purchase at five general park stores.
Yellowstone guests will be able to find the Microbial Protein at Canyon Lodge, Roosevelt Lodge, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Old Faithful Inn, Mammoth Hot Spring Hotel, Grant Village, and Lake Yellowstone Hotel.
“We really have a full circle time here at Nature’s Fynd. Feeding our growing population in the face of the climate crisis is crucial, and without our initial research with Yellowstone National Park, we could not have been part of the solution with Fy Protein,” Nature’s Fynd Co-Founder and CEO Thomas Jonas said VegNews. “It is truly remarkable that our delicious vegan meals made with Fy are now available at the park. It is truly a testament to the power of nature and science coming together to feed people and the planet for generations to come. .”
What exactly is this microbe-based protein?
While researching fungal life for NASA in Yellowstone, Kozubal encountered the microbe that would eventually be used to develop the ingredient Fy Protein. The microbe – called Fusarium flavolapis strain – was isolated and collected without harming the park’s ecosystem. Kozubal and his team at Nature’s Fynd developed the fermentation technology to produce large quantities of the fungal microbe to create protein isolates that can effectively replicate the taste, texture and nutritional profile of traditional meat and dairy products.
“It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless in the face of climate change,” said Karuna Rawal, Marketing Director of Nature’s Fynd. VegNews. “We know that changing our current food system is hard work and requires innovative solutions, but we also know that changing the way we eat is something each of us can do to mitigate the impact of climate change.
“When visiting Yellowstone National Park, it’s important that people see the opportunity to help the planet, not harm. We want our consumers to share our optimism about the future of our planet and preserve the very place they visit. That’s why we’re thrilled that our delicious vegan foods made with Fy, our nutritional fungal protein, are available for park-goers.
Nature’s Fynd is partnering with Yellowstone Forever – the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone – for the national park’s 150th anniversary. The company has donated to the organization and will help sponsor the 150th anniversary celebration. The celebration will also include the 15th Biennial Science Conference on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem which will last until May 18.
The mushroom-based sausage just launched at Whole Food Markets in 10 states ahead of Yellowstone’s announcement. The company revealed that it intends to continue expanding as its sustainable product becomes more popular. Currently, customers can also find the meatless sausage at Berkley Bowl in California, Fairway Markets in New York and Mariano’s in Chicago.
Microbes can save the planet
Nature’s Fynd is one of the latest companies to join a growing microbial movement. Microbial fermentation is considered one of the most sustainable methods of developing alternatives to meat. This month, a study found that replacing 20% of conventional animal agriculture with microbe-based meat, such as producing mycoproteins (from fungi), could reduce deforestation by 50%. . The staggering statistic highlights just how beneficial this innovative process could be for the environment as the world’s population approaches 10 billion people.
Companies such as MyForest Foods and Meati have turned to mycoprotein because of its minimal environmental footprint and nutrient density. Quorn – another meatless brand that uses mycoproteins – claims that the carbon footprint of its mycelium products is at least 10 times lower than that of beef.
“We have relied for more than 11,000 years on a small group of animals and plants to feed us, but as planetary resources become scarce with the impact of climate change and our population tumbles to 10 billion residents, we need new solutions,” said Jonas.
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