Mushrooms are popping up everywhere these days—in everything from meat substitutes, coffee and in dietary supplements. New Brunswick-based Chinova Bioworks uses white mushrooms to develop a clean-label preservative to improve quality, freshness and shelf-life for food, beverage and cosmetic products.
Chinova’s co-founders Natasha Dhayagude and David Brown started the company in 2016, during a time plant-based was still considered a niche category. Looking around at Expo West, Dhayagude said plant-based options are unavoidable.
“I have been vegetarian my whole life. My family has always been vegetarian and just looking back a couple of years, even for 4-5 years, the options for plant-based were just so, so limited. But now, just walking around all of these halls today, that's all that exists– you have plant-based dairy alternatives, you have plant-based meat alternatives. There's just so much innovation within that space and I think because consumers want this and this is where the space is really headed and it's here to stay, ingredient producers like us really need to keep up with that demand and make sure that we cater to those demands that those consumers and brands have,” said Dhayagude.
Dhayagude credits her team, which is 90% female, in helping her tap into sustainable solutions for clean-label ingredients.
“It was a crazy journey, it's been six years that we've been in this space, but I couldn't have done anything without the team that we built. And so I think that has helped us really drive the change and the innovation in the space. And so I think that part of the story that we created is something that I'm really proud of.”