Understanding Nutritional fungi ‘Fy’ in the wake of rising discussions on the need to develop cheaper, and highly nutritious protein alternatives for Indian / Asian markets
Kabir Nanda is the director for International Expansion at Nature’s Fynd; a company working towards promoting a revolutionary protein source developed by nutritional fungi. He is working towards a low-carbon, climate-friendly food system. He spoke at the Smart Protein Summit 2021 organized by the Good Food Institute India. He shared various interesting details on nutritional fungi ‘Fy’ in the wake of rising discussions on the need to develop cheaper, and highly nutritious protein alternatives for Indian / Asian markets.
Fy protein is created from a microbe through a fermentation process. The process of making this protein is simple – Kabir calls it elegant; it saves on time – the turnaround time is quite low; uses low energy compared to both plant-based and animal-based protein development methods.
Here is a gist of what the ‘Fy’ protein is all about, based on Kabir’s conversation at the Summit.
It is made using simple commodities like basic carbon sources, or simple sugars. It can be made during rain or sunshine, under any climatic conditions, and anywhere in the world. That means it is viable for decentralized production cutting down the logistic nightmares the companies have to go through.
“We can create a range of meat and dairy analogs. It is rich in nutrients with 50% protein and high in Amino acids, and fibre. It has a texture that we recognize in meat. And its emulsifying properties enable it to transform easily and we can create a range of products for various dishes across the cuisines. That is the reason why I was drawn to its international expansion,” explains Kabir.
Transformative technologies have a very important role to play in taking alt protein to newer markets. And for this to happen, Kabir says that the cultural ethos, local economy and structures that exist are to be considered while creating solutions.
“Asia is particularly going to be importat for me because it is going to account for the bulk of protein demand in the next 20-30 years and it is going to be highly impacted by the climate change,” he adds.
Technology development cannot be the sole criteria for protein production. Kabir and many other industry experts, who participated in the summit, agree on the importance of the alt protein to proliferate society at all socio-economic strata, not just limit it to the elite, and make it easy to be adapted into regional cuisines. In Asia, especially in India protein deficiency is a reality, and needs to be addressed by optimising the protein developed by enriching it with nutrients.