With their mushroom-based pork alternative, Baltimore-based company Meat the Mushroom is working to encourage consumers to adopt healthy, plant-based diets.
The company’s first product, a bacon alternative known as SHROOMACON, consists of five ingredients and is free of preservatives, soy, gluten, and cholesterol.
Founders of the company Marvin Montague and Aleah Rae Dorsey, originally intended to open a vegan restaurant that didn’t rely on soy as the primary protein source. Hoping to develop a more natural, non-processed alternative Montague began experimenting with ways to give mushrooms a meatier texture.
Over time, Montague realized that he could have a greater impact if he focused his efforts on retail products. “I see the people around me could benefit from going vegan, but they just don’t know [the benefits],” Montague tells Food Tank. “And if they do know, it’s hard to kick animal products.”
Montague became interested in promoting veganism after experiencing the health benefits of a plant-based diet first-hand. As a child, he suffered from chronic asthma and at 24 years old, he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart muscle. After experimenting with vegetarianism for several years, he gave up dairy at 27. By the following year, he says that both his heart condition and asthma had disappeared. Montague wants to help others make a similar transition by providing them with a delicious meat alternative.
SHROOMACON is currently available for purchase at three different farmers markets in Baltimore. But Montague and Dorsey report that demand for their products is growing. “The last five times we were in a farmers market, we sold out,” Dorsey tells Food Tank.
Eventually, the pair hope to see their product on restaurant and fast-food chain menus as well as in grocery stores. “We don’t want to be just in the vegan section with all the fake meat,” Dorsey says. “This is an alternative that can stand all on its own next to your slab of pork bacon.”
Meat the Mushroom is also developing additional mushroom-based pork alternatives, including a boneless rib and chorizo. To determine which product will reach the market first, Montague and Dorsey plan to consult their customers. “I will have the community try it and see which product will help them with their vegan journey,” Montague tells Food Tank.
“We always want to stay connected to our community,” Dorsey adds. “They’re funding this, they’re fueling this, and this will be as big as they want it to be.”
Photo courtesy of Meat the Mushroom