The Mushroom Benefit Ltd., a mushroom based start up, is launching a new line of Umamis Crunchy Snacks, bringing exotic mushrooms to the snack aisles. These all-natural bites offer a delicious, on-the-go snack that leverages the health characteristics innately present in specialty mushrooms and granting consumers a guilt-free umami kick in four delicious flavors.
For the past 30 years, the company’s founders, Mira Weigensberg, CEO of The Mushroom Benefit Ltd. And her life partner, Oren Kessler, Vice President of R&D., specialized in the research, cultivation, and marketing of exotic mushrooms in Israel. Weigensberg’s academic training was in Immunology where she learned about the potential health benefits of mushrooms, particularly exotic mushrooms, as immune system boosters and for promoting cardiovascular health as part of a balanced diet. That initial recognition, together with their love of mushrooms as food, kicked off their life’s work.
“Our strength is where we come from,” says Kessler. “The world of mushrooms. We understand and respect mushrooms at a very high level, and we appreciate both the health benefits of mushrooms, and the umami factor for enhancing savory flavors as a substitute for salt and artificial flavour additives. One myth that we hope to shatter is the perception that mushrooms are elitist and expensive. Our products are designed to appeal to the everyday shopper that desires products at reasonable prices that add to his or her culinary experience and add tasty dimensions to everyday dishes as well as consumers of natural products as a way of life, with transparent package labels and identifiable ingredients.”
By virtue of a deep understanding of the raw natural product, The Mushroom Benefit knows how to design a product that reflects the best qualities of the diverse exotic mushroom universe and also provides the consumer with added value, both nutrition-wise and cost-wise.
Umamis Crunchy Snacks are manufactured using traditional extrusion technology applied with novel adaptations that yields a generous 40g-equivalent hit of fresh mushrooms per serving. The result is an indulgent and wholesome umami rich treat that easily fits into contemporary on-the-go lifestyles. Each package contains a mix of all-natural king oyster mushrooms and corn to give it a crispy puffed texture. The zero trans-fat, plant-based product contains no cholesterol or preservatives and no artificial flavoring or coloring.
“The mushroom base enabled us to design a snack that is all-natural and tasty, as well as delivering mycotherapeutic functionality,” says Weigensberg. “Our product line is compliant with the FDA regulations for defining healthy food products. This is a significant milestone, as it sets The Mushroom Benefit far ahead of the majority of crunchy snack food brand products currently on the market that often contain trans-fats and higher calories with minimal nutrients.” In addition to certain crucial vitamins and minerals, specialty mushrooms are known for their naturally occurring beta-glucans, a polysaccharide complex with acknowledged health benefits.
Despite many perceived and acknowledged health and culinary benefits of mushrooms, the fungi market is a niche segment in the overall food industry. The startup’s goal is to provide new and innovative products which would leverage the goodness of exotic mushrooms and bring it to mainstream consumers, enabling them to easily incorporate it into their everyday lives. The idea was to replace MSG with real umami taste and flavor of exotic mushrooms and make them more accessible to consumers with busy lifestyle.
This is what kicked off development of the company’s new product lines. Throughout the research and development process, a variety of hurdles and challenges, led to successful (and less successful) attempts to reach the specific products’ characteristics that were targeted.
Today, The Mushroom Benefit focuses on the innovation and development of novel functional food products based on exotic mushrooms and other natural ingredients within the international specialty food marketplace.
- Harold Kruger, Director, Investor Relations, The Mushroom Benefit Ltd.
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