Listen, I’m not here to promise anything. I’m also not trying to create some clickbait headline about some new kind of SPAM (ok, maybe a little).
All I’m doing is wondering aloud where a new partnership between Hormel, the maker of the delicious canned meat(ish) product/pop culture mainstay, and Better Meat Co., a supplier of mycoprotein and plant-based protein ingredients, will go. After all, the new partnership’s mission is to co-develop new alt-protein products, so who’s to say a fungi-based SPAM isn’t on the roadmap?
The announcement centers around the two companies working together to create new products using Rhiza, Better Meat Co’s novel mycoprotein. As described in the release, Rhiza is made via “via a potato-based fermentation pioneered by The Better Meat Co., Rhiza is an all-natural whole food mycoprotein with a remarkable meat-like texture. Boasting more protein than eggs and more iron than beef, Rhiza offers a new generation of sustainable animal-free protein for the burgeoning alternative meat market.”
According to Better Meat Co’s CEO Paul Shapiro, the two companies have an exclusive relationship with gives Hormel early access to Rhiza for product development purposes. The partnership does not, however, give Hormel exclusive distribution rights to Rhiza products.
“Demand for Rhiza right now far outstrips our ability to supply it,” Shapiro told me via email.
Like Unilever, Hormel sees the potential in mycoprotein as an alt-meat platform. After all, fungi are inherently meat-like and pack a powerful protein punch. But perhaps most important if you’re an industrial scale meat company like Hormel, mycoproteins – including Rhiza, reproduce very quickly.
So while I can’t promise a fungi-based SPAM, I not gonna say it won’t happen. After all, we’re talking about a meat product so popular it has a museum and festival. So, with traditional factory farming becoming less sustainable by the day, what better way to ensure the future of SPAM by going full fermented fungi?
Make it happen, Hormel.