Quorn


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Quorn
TypePrivate
IndustryFood
Founded1985; 36 years ago (1985)
FounderMarlow Foods Ltd (JV between RHM & ICI)
HeadquartersStokesley, North Yorkshire,
Area served
Global
ProductsMeat analogues
OwnerMonde Nissin Corporation (2015–present)
Websitewww.quorn.co.uk

Quorn is a meat substitute product originating in the UK and sold primarily in Europe, but available in 14 countries.[1] Quorn is sold as both a cooking ingredient and as a meat substitute used in a range of prepackaged meals.

All Quorn foods contain mycoprotein as an ingredient, which is derived from the Fusarium venenatum fungus.[2] In most Quorn products, the fungus culture is dried and mixed with egg albumen, which acts as a binder, and then is adjusted in texture and pressed into various forms. A vegan formulation also exists that uses potato protein as a binder instead of egg albumen.[3]

Quorn was launched in 1985 by Marlow Foods, a joint venture between Rank Hovis McDougall (RHM) and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), and is now owned by Monde Nissin Corporation.[4]

History[edit]

Microbial biomass is produced commercially as single-cell protein (SCP) for human food or animal feed and as viable yeast cells for the baking industry. The industrial production of bakers' yeast started in the early 1900s, and yeast biomass was used as human food in Germany during World War I. The development of large-scale processes for the production of microbial biomass as a source of commercial protein began in earnest in the late 1960s. Several of the processes investigated did not come to fruition owing to political and economic problems, but the establishment of the ICI Pruteen process for the production of bacterial SCP for animal feed was a milestone in the development of the fermentation industry.[5] This process used continuous culture on a large scale 1,500 m3 (53,000 cu ft)). The economics of the production of SCP as animal feed were marginal, which eventually led to the discontinuation of the Pruteen process. The technical expertise gained from the Pruteen process assisted ICI in collaborating with Rank Hovis McDougall on a process for the production of fungal biomass for human food. A continuous fermentation process for the production of Fusarium venenatum biomass (marketed as Quorn) was developed using a 40 m3 (1,400 cu ft) air-lift fermenter.[6][7]

During the 1960s, it was predicted that by the 1980s there would be a shortage of protein-rich foods.[8][9]

The filamentous fungus, Fusarium venenatum, was discovered in a soil sample in 1967.[10] In 1985, RHM was given permission to sell mycoprotein for human consumption after a ten-year evaluation programme.[11][12]

Retail history[edit]

Quorn (named for the Leicestershire village of Quorn)[13][14] was first marketed in 1985 by Marlow Foods (named after Rank Hovis McDougall's headquarters in Marlow, Buckinghamshire), a joint venture between RHM and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), which provided a fermenter left vacant from their abandoned single-cell feed programme. The two partners invested in patents for growing and processing the fungus, and other intellectual properties in the brand.[citation needed]

Quorn entered distribution in the UK in 1993, and it was introduced to other parts of Europe in the 1990s, and to North America in 2002.[15] The initial advertising campaign for Quorn featured sports personalities, including footballer Ryan Giggs, rugby player Will Carling, and Olympic runner Sally Gunnell. In 2013, the company appointed Mo Farah as its ambassador in a marketing push for fitness.[16][17][18]

Cubed Quorn

Quorn is sold in ready-to-cook forms, such as cubes and a form resembling minced meat. The company later introduced a range of chilled vegetarian meals, including pizzas, lasagne, cottage pie, and products resembling sliced meat, hot dogs, and burgers.[19] By 2005, Quorn enjoyed around 60% of the meat-replacement food market in the UK, with annual sales of around £95 million.[9][20] By 2006, it was available in stores in the UK; Europe (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland); and North America (Canada and United States). Since June 2010, it has been available in Australia.[21][22] In May 2012, Quorn Foods opened the German website quorn.de to relaunch Quorn in Germany.

After its producer switched to using free-range eggs as an ingredient, the Vegetarian Society gave the product its seal of approval.[23]

In 2004, McDonald's introduced a Quorn-branded burger bearing the seal of approval of the Vegetarian Society.[24][25] However, as of 2009, the Quorn burgers were no longer available at any McDonald's restaurant in the UK. In 2011, Quorn Foods launched a vegan burger into the United States market, using potato protein as a binder instead of egg albumen, to confer vegan status.[26] According to Quorn's website, by 2020, a number of Quorn items were available in United States markets, many of which are vegan. They also have gluten-free options.

As of 2014, it was reported that most consumers of Quorn are meat eaters rather than vegetarians.[27] The market for Quorn products is increasing worldwide and the company expects further growth.[28][29]

Ownership history[edit]

Originally conceived in 1985 and owned by Marlow Foods, a joint venture between Rank Hovis McDougall (RHM) and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), RHM exited the business in 1990 by selling its shares to ICI. When ICI spun off its biological products divisions from the core chemical business in 1993, Marlow Foods became a part of the newly formed Zeneca group, later AstraZeneca.

In 2003, AstraZeneca sold Marlow Foods, including the Quorn business and associated trademarks and patents, to Montagu Private Equity for £72m. Montagu sold the business on to Premier Foods in 2005 for £172m.[20]

In 2011, Premier Foods sold Quorn to Exponent Private Equity and Intermediate Capital Group for £205 million.[30][31] In 2015, the owners put the company up for sale via a business auction process. Attracting bidders including Danone, Kerry Group, McCain Foods and Nomad Foods, it was sold to Monde Nissin Corporation headquartered in the Philippines for £550m ($831m).[32][33]

Quorn Mince, 100g
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy393 kJ (94 kcal)
4.5 g
Sugars0.6g
Dietary fibre6.0 g
2 g
Saturated0.5 g
14.5 g
Tryptophan0.18 g
Threonine0.61 g
Isoleucine0.57 g
Leucine0.95 g
Lysine0.91 g
Methionine0.23 g
Phenylalanine0.54 g
Valine0.60 g
Histidine0.39 g

sources: mycoprotein.org[34] quorn.co.uk[35]
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.

Production[edit]

Quorn fillets – frozen, defrosted and fried

Quorn is made from the soil mould Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684 (previously misidentified as the parasitic mould Fusarium graminearum[36]). The fungus is grown in continually oxygenated water in large, otherwise sterile fermentation tanks. Glucose and fixed nitrogen are added as a food for the fungus, as are vitamins and minerals to improve the food value of the product. The resulting mycoprotein is then extracted and heat-treated to remove excess levels of RNA. Previous attempts to produce such fermented protein foodstuffs were thwarted by excessive levels of DNA or RNA; without the heat treatment, purines, found in nucleic acids, are metabolised by humans to produce uric acid, which can lead to gout.[37]

The product is dried and mixed with egg albumen, which acts as a binder. It is then textured, giving it some of the grained character of meat, and pressed into a mince resembling ground beef; forms resembling chicken breasts, meatballs, and turkey roasts; or chunks resembling diced chicken breast. In these forms, Quorn has a varying colour and a mild flavour resembling the imitated meat product, and is suitable for use as a replacement for meat in many dishes, such as stews and casseroles.

The final Quorn product is high in protein and dietary fibre and is low in saturated fat. It contains less dietary iron than most meats and the manufacturers have not released much information about additives they use to make Quorn resemble meat. Quorn is considered acceptable in small amounts for babies over nine months old, but should be introduced gradually. The high fibre and low calorie content is better for adults than babies and too much fibre can cause flatulence. The salt content should be checked before giving Quorn to babies, since the salt content varies among products.[38][39]

The carbon footprint of Quorn Frozen Mince in the UK is claimed to be at least 80% less than that of beef.[40]

Quorn for the UK and European market is produced at Marlow's headquarters in Stokesley, North Yorkshire and at nearby Billingham in Stockton-on-Tees.[41]

Controversy[edit]

After Quorn's 2002 debut in the United States, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) disputed the original labeling of Quorn as a "mushroom based" product, since Fusarium venenatum is not a mushroom (rather, it is a microfungus).[42] The sale of Quorn was opposed by the American Mushroom Institute, and rival Gardenburger, which filed complaints with advertising and trading-standards watchdogs in Europe and the US, stating Quorn's 'mushroom based' claim was deceptive.[42][43]

CSPI claimed that Quorn could cause allergic reactions and should be removed from stores. CSPI claimed in 2003 that it "sickens 4.5% of eaters".[44] The manufacturer (Marlow Foods) disputed the figure, claiming that only 0.0007% (1 in 146,000) suffer adverse reactions and that the strain of fungus it uses does not produce toxins.[44] Leslie Bonci, professor of nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh, described CSPI's claims as "overblown".[45] Wendy Preiser, Gardenburger's vice president of marketing, said the company feared that Quorn's labels would cause suspicion about all meat-free products.[46][45]

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority was concerned that Marlow's marketing of Quorn as "mushroom in origin" was "misleading consumers". Marlow Foods were asked either to delete the claim or modify it to identify its fungal origin.[47]

Quorn formerly used battery eggs in some of its production processes, a practice opposed on ethical grounds by many in the vegetarian community. Working with the Vegetarian Society, which initially did not approve Quorn's products, Marlow began phasing out battery eggs in 2000,[48] and by 2004 all of their UK products were free of battery eggs, earning the Vegetarian Society's seal of approval.[23]

An asthma attack in 2003 was linked to Quorn. Tests showed Quorn to be the only food to which the patient had an allergic reaction. A spokesperson for the Food Standards Agency stated that an allergy was not surprising, due to the high protein content.[49] Former FSA director Jon Bell responded in defence of Quorn, stating that several commonly consumed foods and food ingredients, such as soya, have a much higher intolerance level than Quorn. Adverse reactions were reported for 1 in 146,000 people who ate Quorn, compared to 1 in 35 who ate shellfish and 1 in 350 who ate soya.[49][50]

Mycoprotein patent expiration[edit]

In the European Union, patents expire after 20 years from their filing date. Since the first patent application was filed in 1985,[51] the mycoprotein patents had already expired in 2010 in all European Union countries. Now anyone can legally produce mycoprotein products using the previously patented processes, but using other brand names, because Marlow Foods maintains ownership of the Quorn brand name. On 14 March 2011, CEO Kevin Brennan said in an interview: "Some patents surrounding the core technology have expired, but the product uses a peculiar fermentation method, and we have 30-plus years' experience in perfecting this on site to produce the product better and at a lower cost. Huge related costs include £30m cost for a fermentation tower and related equipment, so you can't simply look at a patent and say 'there you go'."[52]

Vegan products[edit]

In late 2011, the first vegan Quorn product was released, called the Quorn Vegan Burger,[53] available initially only in the United States. Following strong sales of the product and increasing demand from the UK market, Quorn began development of a line of vegan products for the UK market, as well as reducing its use of eggs overall, using 3.5 million fewer eggs since 2010.[54] The first range of vegan Quorn in the UK included eight products and was launched in October 2015.[55]

In January 2019 Quorn produced the filling for a vegan sausage roll sold by UK bakery chain Greggs.[56] The product was consistently sold out, and was identified by the chain as a major contributor to increasing profits and a record share price.[57][58] In January 2020 Greggs released a Quorn-based vegan "steak bake".[59]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Quorn FAQ". Quorn.co.uk. Archived from the original on 12 April 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  2. ^ Finnigan, TJA (2011) Mycoprotein: origins, production and properties. In Handbook of Food Proteins (eds. G. O. Philips and P. A. Williams), pp 335–352. Woodhead Publishing Ltd
  3. ^ "Fusarium venenatum - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.sciencedirect.com. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  4. ^ "FAQs About Quorn – Is Quorn Vegan/Gluten Free & More". Quorn. Archived from the original on 29 July 2015. Retrieved 31 July 2015.
  5. ^ Watchorn, N.; Matthews, J.F.; Rout, A.E. (1978). "Chapter 15: Single-cell protein". In Peacock, F.C. (ed.). Jealott's Hill: Fifty years of Agricultural Research 1928-1978. Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd. pp. 137–144. ISBN 0901747017.
  6. ^ P. F. Stanbury, A. Whitaker and S. J. Hall, Principles of Fermentation Technology, 2nd Ed., Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1995.
  7. ^ D. H. Sharp, Bioprotein Manufacture-A Critical Assessment, Ellis Horwood, Chichester, 1989, Chapter 4, p. 53.
  8. ^ "History". quorn.us. Quorn USA website. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  9. ^ a b "From petri dish to plate: The £172m fungi". The Independent. 7 June 2005. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  10. ^ Warner, Melanie (3 May 2005). "Lawsuit Challenges a Meat Substitute". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  11. ^ "GRAS Notices – Notification for Mycoprotein, Submitted by Marlow FoodsLtd, November 30, 2001" (PDF). FDA.gov. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  12. ^ Wiebe, M. (March 2002). "Myco-protein from Fusarium venenatum: a well-established product for human consumption". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. 58 (4): 421–427. doi:10.1007/s00253-002-0931-x. PMID 11954786. S2CID 206934191.
  13. ^ "Did You Know That Quorn Was Invented Beside The Thames?". Londonist. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  14. ^ Oxford Dictionary of English (2010), page 1459
  15. ^ "What is Quorn?". quorn.us. Quorn USA. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 4 June 2007.
  16. ^ "Quorn signs up Mo Farah for new ads appealing to fitness fans". TheGrocer.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  17. ^ Stones, Mike (7 September 2015). "Quorn lifts capacity by 50% to meet surge in US sales". Food Manufacture. Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Quorn joins Premier line-up for £172m". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  19. ^ "Quorn product range". Quorn.co.uk. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  20. ^ a b "Quorn to get a higher profile as Premier buys maker for £172m". Yorkshire Post. 7 June 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2006.[permanent dead link]
  21. ^ "Quorn in Australia group". Facebook.com.
  22. ^ "Quorn launch in Australia". Foodie Central. Archived from the original on 4 July 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2010.
  23. ^ a b "Soya & mycoprotein information sheet". vegsoc.org. Vegetarian Society. Archived from the original on 28 April 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  24. ^ "Quorn timeline". quorn.co.uk. Quorn UK. Archived from the original on 24 December 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  25. ^ "Vegetarian group backs McDonalds". BBC News Online. 1 October 2004. Archived from the original on 7 January 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  26. ^ "COK Success: Quorn Launches First Vegan Product!". cok.net. Compassion Over Killing. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  27. ^ Riley, Tess (15 October 2014). "From vegan beef to fishless filets: meat substitutes are on the rise". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Quorn booms as 'flexitarians' increase". BBC News. Archived from the original on 24 January 2018. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  29. ^ "The Quorn revolution: the rise of ultra-processed fake meat". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 February 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2018.
  30. ^ "Quorn's new owner sees bright meat-free future". Food Manufacture. 8 March 2011. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 27 June 2011.
  31. ^ Ebrahimi, Helia (25 January 2011). "Premier Foods sells Quorn and Cauldron for £205m". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011. Premier Foods [...] by offloading both Quorn and meat-free sausage brand Cauldron for £205m. [...] creating room for private equity duo Exponent and Intermediate Capital Group to swoop. The price was roughly the same as what Premier paid for the brands in 2005.
  32. ^ "Quorn Foods meat substitute firm sold for £550m". BBC News. 30 September 2015. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  33. ^ Armstrong, Ashley (30 September 2015). "Quorn gobbled up by Philippine noodle maker". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 25 February 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
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  35. ^ "Vegetarian Mince". quorn.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 September 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
  36. ^ "Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for August 2005". University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2010.
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  38. ^ "Quorn – Should I Be Eating It? 2013". Manchester Confidential. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015.
  39. ^ "When can I give Quorn to my baby?". www.nhs.uk. Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  40. ^ Quorn Frozen Mince certification by the Carbon Trust: "KTP provides carbon footprint certification for Quorn(TM)". Archived from the original on 29 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Marlow Foods Locality". Quorn UK website. Archived from the original on 24 August 2005.
  42. ^ a b ""Quorn Meat Substitute Deceptively Labeled, CSPI Tells FDA", CSPI, 2002-28-02". Cspinet.org. 28 February 2002. Archived from the original on 29 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  43. ^ Jacobson, Michael F.; Gurian-Sherman, Doug (28 February 2002). "Re: GRAS Notice No. GRN 000091; Food Additive Petition FAP 6A3930" (PDF). CSPI. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 September 2002. Retrieved 15 November 2008.
  44. ^ a b "4½% of Britons Report Problems After Eating Quorn". CSPI press release. 23 September 2003. Archived from the original on 2 June 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  45. ^ a b "Quorn Dogged: Scientists Call Advocacy Group's Complaints Unfounded". New Hope Network. 24 April 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2019.
  46. ^ Manjoo, Farhad (16 April 2002). "A Mushrooming Quorn Controversy". Wired. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  47. ^ "Annual Report 2002 (PDF, page 5)" (PDF). Advertising Standards Authority. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  48. ^ Tina Fox; Chief Executive; Vegetarian Society. "Selling the Symbol : The Vegetarian Society's Seedling Licence Scheme". speech to the 36th World Vegetarian Congress in November 2004. Archived from the original on 10 July 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2006.
  49. ^ a b "Quorn linked to asthma attack". BBC News. London. 30 May 2003. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009. Retrieved 10 October 2011. The patient, a 41-year-old man with a long history of asthma, developed a severe skin reaction, including blistering, and suffered an asthma attack an hour after eating Quorn. Scientists carried out skin prick and food reaction tests and laboratory analysis to confirm what had provoked the allergic reaction. [...] On its Web site, the FSA currently states: "There have been some reports of intolerance to Quorn, but this is not surprising, because it has a high protein content (allergens are usually proteins).
  50. ^ "FSA Stands by Quorn". Nutra Ingredients. 4 September 2002. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  51. ^ US patent 4555485, Robert A. Marsh, "Production of edible protein containing substances", issued 1985-11-26, assigned to Rank Hovis Mcdougall, Plc 
  52. ^ "Premier didn't realise Quorn's potential, says ceo". Foodmanufacture.co.uk. Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  53. ^ "COK Success: Quorn Launches First Vegan Product! | Compassion Over Killing". Compassion Over Killing. 6 December 2011. Archived from the original on 5 October 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  54. ^ Compassion Over Killing (29 May 2012). "Quorn Foods Plans to Launch New Vegan Option in the UK | Compassion Over Killing". Cok.net. Archived from the original on 3 December 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  55. ^ "Quorn Launches Vegan Line". PETA UK blog. October 2015. Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 9 June 2016.
  56. ^ Smithers, Rebecca (17 May 2019). "How Quorn makes the filling for Greggs' vegan sausage rolls". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  57. ^ Togoh, Isabel (30 July 2019). "This Wildly Popular Vegan Sausage Roll Boosted British Bakery Greggs Profits By 58%". Forbes. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  58. ^ McCormick, Miles (19 February 2019). "Vegan sausage roll success boosts Greggs' profit outlook". Financial Times. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  59. ^ Petter, Olivia (2 January 2020). "Greggs launches new vegan steak bake". The Independent. Retrieved 3 October 2020.

External links[edit]


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