Mycoprotein FAQs

What is the impact of mycoprotein on satiety?

There is evidence that mycoprotein has greater satiating power than other foods with a similar fiber content. For a fuller discussion click here.

Can mycoprotein lower cholesterol?

A number of studies suggest that mycoprotein is associated with a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels. For a fuller discussion click here.

What impact does mycoprotein have on glycaemic response?

There is evidence to suggest that mycoprotein may be useful in the management of obesity and type 2 diabetes as it appears to show beneficial effects on glycaemia (glucose in the blood) and insulinaemia (insulin in the blood). For a fuller discussion click here.

What is mycoprotein?

Mycoprotein is the ingredient common to all Quorn™ products. It is high in protein, high in fiber, low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol.

Mycoprotein is made in fermenters similar to those found in a brewery. It’s made by adding oxygen, nitrogen, glucose and minerals to a fungus called fusarium venenatum.

These ingredients combine in the fermenter to form a continuous supply of mycoprotein which is harvested and dried before egg albumen is added to help with binding.

Does eating mycoprotein cause any side effects?

The only side effect which may occur after eating Quorn™ products is that in common with other fiber containing foods some flatulence may develop in susceptible individuals - this generally only occurs after the first few times of eating the products and soon disappears.

Are there any issues relating to allergenicity or intolerance relating to mycoprotein?

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. Even more are thought to be allergic to shellfish.

Because mycoprotein is made from fungi, it's possible that some people who react to other fungi may also react to Quorn products.

The UK Food Standards Agency states that "research estimates that between 1 in 100,000 to 200,000 people will react to it" (Quorn™ products.)

Quorn™ products have been eaten in the UK, for more than 30 years and are eaten in one in five UK households each year.

In January 2011 Marlow Foods, the company that makes Quorn, convened a one-off independent expert panel in London to discuss consumer reports of adverse reactions to mycoprotein.

The panel is reported to have concluded:

  • The number of reported adverse reactions to mycoprotein is very low and it is likely that most of these incidents relate to the high fiber content. Mycoprotein provides around 5.5g of dietary fiber in 100g of Quorn mince or pieces. The Panel hypothesised that, in certain individuals or under certain conditions, consuming mycoprotein could speed up the normal transit of foods from the small to the large intestine. This could, in turn, cause the fiber in mycoprotein to be fermented very rapidly in the large intestine, leading to symptoms of gastro-intestinal distress of the type reported by some consumers. The small numbers of consumers at risk from this type of gut response may have an imbalance in their normal gut bacteria, an unusual dietary intake of fiber (too low or too high) or may suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
  • True allergic reaction to mycoprotein is extremely rare and the frequency is substantially less than for any of the recognised allergens such as egg, wheat or soya.

The panel recommended to Marlow Foods that it should improve how data on adverse reactions are collected in order to understand better which types of consumers may be susceptible. Marlow Foods said it had taken on board this recommendation.

Is mycoprotein vegan?

Mycoprotein is vegan. Some Quorn products contain a small amount of egg white and so are not vegan. An increasing number of Quorn products do not contain egg white and so are vegan. Please check the labelling.

What are the environmental impacts of products made with mycoprotein?

Mycoprotein has distinct environmental benefits. Producing protein through fermentation more efficient and far more sustainable than animal protein. Mycoprotein has a significantly smaller carbon footprint and requires less land and water resources than livestock.

In comparison to beef, the product carbon footprint of mycoprotein can be considered to be at least 90 percent lower than that of beef. The water footprint of mycoprotein is 20 times lower than that of beef (global average).

In comparison to chicken, the product carbon footprint of mycoprotein can be considered to be at least 70 percent lower than that of chicken, and the water footprint of mycoprotein is 6 times lower than chicken.

Is mycoprotein suitable for diabetics?

Data from a clinical trial1 indicates that Quorn™ products may have a beneficial role to play in the control of diabetes by influencing glycaemia and insulinaemia after a meal and the fact that Quorn™ products are relatively low in free sugars is also a positive effect.

1 Am J Clin Nutr 61 (1) p135-140 1995

Are there any groups of people who should not eat mycoprotein?

Mycoprotein is not classified as an allergen in the U.S. or any of the nineteen other countries where it is currently sold as an ingredient in products made by the brand Quorn. In addition, expert opinion and experience in use shows that foods made using mycoprotein are less allergenic than soy, nuts, dairy, and other high protein foods1. However, as a protein, mycoprotein has the potential to cause allergic reaction. Some Quorn foods (the only source of mycoprotein currently on the market) 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. 

Is mycoprotein organic?

No. It’s not possible to guarantee to the organic status of all the ingredients used for mycoprotein.

Is mycoprotein made by Genetic modification?

No. Mycoprotein is made by fermenting a blend of glucose, minerals and fungi. We purchase all ingredients to a specification that they are from a non-GM source. This can be checked by the IP (Identification Preserved) process, and we also conduct PCR (polmerase chain reaction)

Is the protein in mycoprotein of a high quality?

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, which is more than beef at 0.92.

Does mycoprotein contain mycotoxins?

No. The conditions under which mycoprotein is produced preclude the production of myco-toxins and every production batch is analysed using state of the art technology capable of detection at the ppb (parts per billion) level.

Is fusarium venenatum a mushroom?

No. Common mushrooms are one type of fungi, of which more than 60,000 species have so far been identified. Mycoprotein is made from a blend of minerals, glucose and another nutritious member of the fungi family called fusarium venenatum.

Fusarium venenatum is microscopic and very different in appearance from the fungi species one would buy in a greengrocer but it is unquestionably part of the fungi kingdom – a group of cellular plant organisms which lack chlorophyll.