Mushroom fibre might be the key to making the beer industry vegan

Monday night football is here, which means that beer will be among the beverages on the menu.

Contrary to widespread assumptions, not all beer is vegan, with many brewing companies using animal products in the finishing process. Just in time for football season, food technology company Chinova Bioworks Launched a research initiative to prompt a new vegan mushroom-based fining technology. Teaming up with the New Brunswick College  communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick  (CCNB), which replaces animal-based fining agents with mushroom fibre.

When wine is fining, porcine stomach enzymes and lobster shell chitin are often used. In the brewing process, Chinova's new white button mushroom fibre, Chiber, will replace animal-based fining agents. Beer typically contains four main ingredients: water, grains such as wheat or barley, hops, and yeast. During the production and filtering process, some brewing companies also add a fining agent derived from animals. Chinova wants to redesign this process across the industry.

“People are making vegan and plant-based lifestyle choices more often, which is why we are committed to advancing and providing sustainable solutions built on the foundation of [also called] white button mushroom fibre technology,” Chinova Bioworks co-founder and COO David Brown said. "Beer is plagued with animal-derived and synthetic ingredients, and we believe Chiber can make a difference."

In the beer industry, companies use the fining process to create a clearer and brighter appearance. Several wines have been found to be inedible due to the fining process, which is similar to wine fining. A fining ingredient is made of cochineal insects, pig stomach pepsin, and fish bladder isinglass. The Chiber plant-based alternative by Chinova will enable the entire beer industry to avoid using animal-based fining agents, thus keeping beer vegan.

It has been in development for nearly five years and is sustained and animal-free. Founded in 2016, Chinova Bioworks provides clean-label ingredients to replace typical preservatives and artificial additives in the food and beverage industry. It is a mushroom-based fibre that can be used in the fining process, but it is now used as a natural food preservative. The Chiber agent is currently working nearly eight times faster than traditional fining agents at settling yeast. As a result of the successful testing, the Chiber product will be available in early 2022.

Moreover, Chiber claims that its fining agent may leave behind residual antimicrobial benefits, adding to the product's freshness. The fining agent is expected to have the same characteristics as its preservative ingredient.

Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and co-founder of Chinova Bioworks, says Chiber, a natural fibre extracted from white button mushrooms stems, has the same effect as other dietary fibres. According to an April statement When discussing the initial testing of food preservatives. Chiber's main purpose is to enhance the quality and shelf life of food and beverages. However, it also provides nutritional value to consumers at the same time, since it is a fibre. Chiber is the only food ingredient that is preservative and nutritive at the same time."

The entry of Chinova into the brewing industry comes at a time when more and more companies are focusing on sustainable and plant-based products. It has been announced that Guinness, the Irish beer giant, will cease using isinglass in its filtration process in 2017. Like many wine companies, the otherwise vegan beer used isinglass as a fining agent.

Several alcoholic beverages may appear vegan at first glance, but many brands use animal-derived products for filtration. Some wine and beer brands have shifted away from animal-based fining agents, such as isinglass, despite the trend. Vegan-friendly beer brands include Bud Light, Carlsberg, Corona, Heineken, Coors Light, and many more.


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