Mushrooms naturally have a meaty texture and savory flavor, which makes them perfect as an ingredient for plant-based meat alternatives, so it’s no surprise that companies in the alt-protein space are using them to create everything from bacon to steak. One company, Eat the Change, recently joined the list of players with the launch its plant-based jerky made from mushrooms.
Eat the Change was founded by Seth Goldman, founder of Honest Tea and chair of the board at Beyond Meat, and Spike Mendelson, a celebrity chef and restauranteur. To celebrate the launch of the company’s mushroom jerky, I was invited to a virtual tasting, where I got to sample the five flavors of jerky: hickory smokehouse, habanero bbq, maple mustard, sea salt + cracked black pepper, and teriyaki ginger. (Maple mustard is my favorite!) Besides being eaten straight out of the bag, the jerky can also be used in sandwiches, noodle dishes, and other recipes.
Organic crimini and portobello mushrooms are the base of the jerky, and the company uses imperfect mushrooms cosmetically unfit for retail that would otherwise get thrown away. The mushrooms are marinated, and then instead of using liquid smoke flavoring, the company actually smokes the mushrooms over hickory branches. The jerky naturally has high amounts of several B vitamins, and one bag contains 4 grams of protein.
Although plant-based burgers get a lot of attention, there is room for expansion in the plant-based jerky space. Several other companies are also using mushrooms as the key ingredient for their plant-based jerky. Moku Foods uses king oyster mushrooms, while Pan’s Mushroom Jerky uses shiitake. Akua uses both seaweed and mushrooms to create its plant-based jerky.
Eat the Change mushroom jerky is currently available in 300 stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, Erewhon, MOM’s Organic Market, Fresh Market, and Stop & Shop. It is also available for purchase on the company’s website, and the retail price is around $5.99 for a 2 oz bag.