Prime Roots, a plant-based protein meat alternative company, makes food from a fungus called koji and they recently released vegan bacon. The product could be ordered online and shipped on people’s doorsteps.
The founders of the company, Kimberlie Le and Joshua Nixon, say that this product was sold quite fast.
Pigless pork products are quite popular nowadays and a lot of companies are releasing their new products to benefit from the increased demand for vegan meat.
The company also held a voting initiative on the products they’ve made and bacon was the winner with thousands of votes from their community.
Vegan Bacon: Made from Koji, a Type of Fungus
The key ingredient of the bacon is Koji, an umami-abundant whole food protein source that’s popular in haute cuisine and commonly used in dishes by Michelin Star chefs.
According to Le, since the release of the vegan bacon, which sold out within a couple of hours (more than 100 packs), they received a lot of support and popularity. They’re also looking forward to new releases and hope to scale up their production.
Their company is supported by the Collaborative Fund (investors in Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods) and True Ventures (investors in Sweetgreen and Blue Bottle Coffee).
Prime Roots currently makes alternatives to popular traditional products ranging from seafood to bacon.
Le knew that making meat alternatives that look, taste, and feel similar to the real deal while keeping a price point would be a challenge.
She was ambitious to give consumers various sustainable alternatives to animal protein from koji and she also set out to make salmon burger.
Le explains that seafood is harder than meat in terms of replication. They started with a bigger challenge to prove that they’re serious.
Together with the co-founder Josh, they spent 4 months on the salmon burger prototype. They also made other seafood products like meat-free shrimp, crab cakes, tuna, lobster chunks, etc.
They also offer sausages, ground beef, and chicken tenders, savory dips, crackers, and protein bars.
Currently, they’re working in a 12,000-square-foot facility in Berkeley, California and have around 10,000 members in their online community who’re craving healthy and delicious meat alternatives.
They’re interested a company that will listen to their needs and offer full transparency. Le believes their biggest selling point is that their protein is a whole food source.
Koji: The Star of Protein in Vegan Products
The starring protein of Prime Roots, koji, has been part of Asian cuisine for a long period of time. It’s used for umami flavor and it’s also pivotal in fermenting sake, miso, and soy sauce.
Le, whose family is Asian, has known this food since a young age and as a student working on meat alternatives at UC Berkeley, she wanted to use it.
Koji works well for meat alternatives and as it’s a complete protein, not much is needed to be added to ensure optimal nutrients.