Mushrooms just might be the superhero of foods they repurpose agricultural waste, are nutrient-dense, can help manage diabetes and can be used to decrease meat consumption.
It’s that last “superpower” that intrigues George Zheng, founder and chief operating officer of Rochester-based Leep Foods. Zheng’s company grows and produces specialty mushrooms and with help from the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech Leep Foods is on a mission to positively impact the Western diet and the environment with the help of mushrooms.
In order to grow, mushrooms require clean biomass waste streams, found in abundance in upstate New York. And unlike your standard button mushrooms, Leep Foods’ trademarked Coral Maitake and Blue Oyster mushrooms are rich in fiber, micronutrients and antioxidants; have a low glycemic load; and contain all nine essential amino acids.
That last distinction makes the company’s fungi a hearty meat alternative. Leep Foods is currently preparing to launch its blended burgers a patty that combines its specialty mushrooms with grass-fed beef. The burgers will serve as a meat supplement that helps reduce the overall consumption of animal products and makes for a burger that is lower in sodium, calories and saturated fat than a traditional burger.