An innovative food ingredient for vegetarian products. This is what the oyster mushroom nursery Verbruggen Paddestoelen was looking for within the Food From Food project. The oyster mushroom feet, a residual product from oyster mushroom cultivation, turned out to be a good candidate. The mushroom is not called the ‘vegetarian steak’ for nothing.
The total flow of oyster mushroom feet is estimated at a minimum of 182 tons per year in the Netherlands. This offers opportunities for processing this flow into semi-finished products. Two challenges have been tackled at the nurseries of Verbruggen Paddestoelen to reduce the residual flow.
- Cutting material of the oyster mushroom, the stem (also called ‘foot’)
- Periodic overproduction in the event of a sudden drop in market demand
In order to carry out this project, a collaboration has been entered into with the food technologists of Fi&S BV and ILVO. Within the Food from Food project, Verbruggen Paddestoelen, together with the food technologists of the partners involved, investigated the following: what are the commercial applications and technical possibilities and barriers to commercially valorize and preserve the residual flow? And, what are the KSF (Key Success Factors) for Verbruggen Paddestoelen to approach companies with the product to be developed? In other words: where is the sales potential of preserved oyster mushrooms in the Netherlands/Europe?
Good steps have been taken with the partners. Mainly on the technical applications for human food related to the foot. Applications have been devised, discussed and tested through the knowledge gathered from the partners involved. In addition, a food grade collection system, analyses, recipes and partnerships have been developed. The conclusion: there are plenty of opportunities to reduce food waste and to extract more value from residual flows.