This page will help answer some frequently asked questions about mycoprotein.
Mycoprotein is the ingredient common to all Quorn products. It is a unique and nutritious protein and can form part of a balanced diet, while supporting the health of the planet. It is high in protein, high in fibre, low in saturated fat, and contains no cholesterol.
Mycoprotein is made from Fusarium venenatum, an ascomycete, which is a type of fungus that naturally occurs in the soil. Once harvested, the organism is fed with carbohydrate in large air-lift fermenters before being separated by centrifugation to form the mycoprotein ‘dough’, that can be used in a variety of ways to make Quorn products.
No, common mushrooms are one type of fungi (Basidiomycetes), of which more than 60,000 species have so far been identified. Mycoprotein is made from another nutritious member of the fungi family, Fusarium venenatum, and is grown by fermentation.
No, mycoprotein is not a soya product. Mycoprotein is a nutritious member of the fungi family , Fusarium venenatum, and is grown by fermentation.
Yes, mycoprotein itself is vegan.
An increasing number of Quorn products are vegan; however, some products do contain a small amount of egg white. Please check the labelling.
Yes. The Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Scoring (PDCAAS) method for assessing protein nutritional quality takes into account the essential amino acid profile of foods, its digestibility, and its ability to supply essential amino acids in amounts required by humans. The PDCAAS for mycoprotein is 0.99 of a possible 1.0, which is more than beef at 0.92
No, mycoprotein is made by fermenting a blend of a natural fungus, glucose and minerals. All ingredients are purchased with a specification they are from a non-GM source. This can be checked by the Identification Preserved (IP) process, and by conducting polymerase chain reactions (PCRs).
No, it’s not possible to guarantee the organic status of all the ingredients used in mycoprotein.
There is evidence to suggest that mycoprotein may be useful in the management of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Data from a clinical trial investigating the effects of mycoprotein on acute glycemia (glucose in the blood) and insulinemia (insulin in the blood) on healthy adults indicates that Quorn products, due to them being relatively low in free sugars, may have a beneficial role to play in the control of diabetes by influencing glycaemia and insulinaemia after a meal.1 For further details on this topic, click here.
1. Turnbull WH, Ward T. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995;61(1):135–40.
There is evidence that mycoprotein has greater satiating power than other foods with a similar fibre content. For further details on this topic, click here.
A number of studies suggest that mycoprotein is associated with a reduction in low density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad”, cholesterol levels. For further details on this topic, click here.
No, the conditions under which mycoprotein is produced prevent the production of mycotoxins. Every production batch is analysed using state of the art technology capable of detecting mycotoxins at the parts per billion (ppb) level.
The only side effect that may occur in susceptible individuals after eating Quorn products, similar to other fibre-containing foods, is flatulence. This generally only occurs after the first few times of eating the products, and soon disappears.
Quorn® products have been eaten for more than 30 years with nearly 5 billion Quorn meals now served.
However, it’s important to know that Quorn foods can contain allergens, such as egg, milk and gluten. These are clearly marked on the back of pack within the ingredient declaration and the allergy advice section.
There have been rare cases of allergic reactions to products which contain mycoprotein. Mycoprotein is high in protein and fibre which may cause intolerance in some people.
An analysis of frequency of consumer reactions to mycoprotein, carried out by Dr Steve Taylor, Food Allergy Research and Resource Program, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, NE, found that over a 15 year period, there was one reported illness for every 1.85 million servings of Quorn, with the frequency of true allergy reactions being one for every 24.3 million servings. Dr Taylor’s systematic evidence review indicates that incidence of allergic reactions remains exceptionally low, and his findings are written up in the journal Current Developments in Nutrition https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/3/6/nzz021/5427912. Presenting at the American Society for Nutrition annual conference, June 2018, Dr Taylor stated “Quorn is, in my expert opinion, safer than many other sources of protein on the basis of very low prevalence of allergic reaction complaints.”
All protein foods have the potential to cause an adverse reaction in some consumers. About one in 200 people are thought to be intolerant to soya for example.
Expert opinion and experience in use shows that foods made using mycoprotein are less allergenic than soy, nuts, dairy, and other high protein foods.1 However, as a protein, mycoprotein has the potential to cause allergic reaction. Some Quorn foods also contain egg, milk, wheat or barley, which may be allergenic for some people. Therefore, consumers should be mindful of their personal sensitivities when introducing this food into their diet.
1. EFSA NDA Panel (EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies), 2014. Scientific Opinion on the evaluation of allergenic foods and food ingredients for labelling purposes. EFSA Journal 2014;12(11):3894, 286.
Mycoprotein has distinct environmental benefits. Producing protein through fermentation is more efficient and far more sustainable than protein derived from rearing animals. Mycoprotein has a significantly smaller carbon footprint and requires less land and water resources than livestock production.
The product carbon footprint of mycoprotein can be considered to be at least 90% lower than that of beef. The water footprint of mycoprotein is 20 times lower than that of beef (global average).
The product carbon footprint of mycoprotein can be considered to be at least 70% lower than that of chicken, and the water footprint of mycoprotein is 5 times lower than chicken.
The land use requirement of mycoprotein is 20 times lower than beef and 4 times lower than chicken.