Scelta develops method to unlock vitamin D in mushrooms

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

Ecopouch will be the first vitamin D rich mushroom produced using Scelta's light treatment
Ecopouch will be the first vitamin D rich mushroom produced using Scelta's light treatment
Scelta Mushrooms is preparing to bring its first vitamin D enriched products to market after gaining novel food status for mushrooms produced using its unique method to access the “naturally available” vitamin D2 in mushrooms.

The Netherlands-based company recently received authorisation from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for novel food status for its mushrooms that are high in vitamin D2.

The group will now begin scaling production of the mushrooms at its recently constructed facility in Venlo.

“After a series of trail runs, the first product will leave the factory mid-October. Our existing customers will then be transferred first to the new product,”​ marketing manager Roy Janssen told FoodNavigator.

UVB unlocks the natural potential of mushrooms

Scelta has been researching how to release the naturally available vitamin D2 in mushroms since 2014.

Mushrooms contain a provitamin called ergosterol, which can be converted into vitamin D2 under the influence of UVB light. This type of light is a big part of the natural sunlight. However, white button mushrooms are grown inside in the dark, meaning that they are not exposed to UVB light.

Scelta has developed a UVB controlled light treatment which can be applied during the production process to make the vitamin D2 available. The exact amount of vitamin D2 released is regulated by the controlled process, the company added.

By harnessing a natural biological process in the mushrooms, Scelta is able to deliver a clean label product, the company noted.

Healthy demand for mushrooms

Janssen said that Scelta has been benefiting from growing interest in health and wellness, a trend that has been boosting global mushroom sales. He therefore believes that the enriched mushrooms will prove popular with the company’s customers.

“Based on market trends which focus on health we already see a global market growth for mushrooms of over 10%. When we enrich preserved mushrooms with vitamin D, food service can now also serve even healthier meals containing mushrooms,”​ he said.

Detailing the health benefits of vitamin D consumption, Scelta noted that it helps regulate the calcium balance necessary for the maintenance of strong bones. Vitamin D also plays a key role in boosting the immune system as well as repair and maintenance of DNA and gene regulation, the group suggested.

Foodservice focus

Moving forward, Scelta said its partners in 70-plus countries will receive mushrooms high on vitamin D.

The mushrooms will first be available under Scelta’s Ecopouch brand, which is primarily sold to food service customers, the food industry and QSR-chains.

Food service chains use Ecopouch instead of fresh mushroom due to its two year shelf life. This means consistency for chains around the world and never an issue with stock. Also, since the mushrooms are already cooked, they can be served in seconds, saving precious time in the kitchen. Compared to cans, no additives are used making it a clean label product with a fresh mushroom taste and bite. In the pouch is nothing else than 100% mushrooms,”​ Janssen explained.

While Scelta doesn’t currently sell into retail channels, Janssen said that the group “might explore this in the near future”.

The company is also working to extend the technology to its other ranges, including dried and powdered products.

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