Ep. 45: Meati - The Fungal Future of Food (feat. Tyler Huggins & Justin Whiteley)

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Today we are excited to chat with Tyler Huggins and Justin Whiteley – cutting-edge food pioneers and founders of Meati, a fungi-based protein company. Meati's mission is to help provide the world with nutritious protein with minimally-processed, fungi-based meats with superfood-level nutrition that don’t compromise on taste or sustainability. Tyler and Justin believe that finding the right protein should be easy and consumers should never have to choose between health, taste, or the environment.
The story of Meati begins with two PhD students at the University of Colorado sharing a beer. Tyler was studying civil and environmental engineering, and Justin was in mechanical engineering. They shared a passion for helping people and the planet through engineering and science. Their first project together used fungi to produce battery electrodes and they ended up exploring loads of different applications of fungi as a manufacturing material. In their explorations of how to solve the world's problems using fungi, they realized one of the greatest potentials for a big, positive impact was to be found by focusing on food.
As it becomes apparent that feeding the world with animal-based proteins is unsustainable, their vision coalesced around the idea of a textured protein product made of mycelium. We learn that Tyler and Justin's vision is to create a true meat product that will actually be superior to animal-based meat in all the major categories: texture, flavor, nutrition and sustainability. Visiting the production floor, we get up close and personal with how Meati grows and shapes a unique strain of mycelium into the future of meat. How do they achieve the texture and flavor profiles chicken, beef and anything else they choose? How is it possible that their mycelium meat contains more protein than beef along with loads of fiber and a daily serving of vitamin B-12?!
Looking to the future, it becomes clear this duo has big plans for Meati. The production process they've engineered for creating their products is geographically agnostic, meaning you could set up fungal food factories anywhere in the world. That kind of production flexibilty combined with the exponential growth potential of mycelium hints at the possibility of a Meati empire that could span the globe. But how did these entrepreneurs get their start? And how close are we really to seeing a world fed by Meati?
Directed, Recorded, Produced by: Mushroom Hour
(@welcome_to_mushroom_hour)
Music by: Ancient Baby (https://peckthetowncrier.bandcamp.com/)
Art by: Wyn Di Stefano (http://www.wyndistefano.com/)
Episode Resources
Meati Website: https://meati.com/
Meati IG: https://www.instagram.com/meatifoods/
Chanterelle (Mushroom): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanterelle
Puffball (Mushroom): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puffball

55 episodes