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Fungi-Derived Fat Alternative: A Sustainable Solution for Gut Health and Reduced Food Waste

In the burgeoning landscape of alternative fats, where innovation intersects with health and sustainability, a noteworthy contribution has emerged from researchers in Hong Kong. At the forefront stands AkkMore, a fungi-derived fat developed by the Research Institute for Future Food (RiFood) and the Department of Food Science and Nutrition (FSN) at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU).

AkkMore represents a paradigm shift in fat alternatives, promising not only to decrease the fat content in products but also to enhance gut health, metabolic benefits, and overall well-being. Since its inception in 2022, PolyU researchers have diligently pursued the extraction of this functional component from natural fungal sources, culminating in a product with significant potential for the food industry.

Lead by project co-lead Gail Jinhui Chang, the research team conducted three rounds of animal trials, revealing promising outcomes. Animals administered with AkkMore showcased improvements in metabolism, weight management, gut health, immune function, and anxiety levels. Such findings garnered recognition, with the project receiving a Silver Medal at the 2022 International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva.

The versatility of AkkMore extends beyond its health benefits. Its properties include extending the shelf life of cream products, alongside thickening, emulsifying, and stabilizing capabilities. Leveraging these attributes, PolyU researchers introduced Cream Mate, an alternative cream designed to reduce dairy consumption and food waste. Collaborations with establishments like Hotel Icon have demonstrated practical applications, with Cream Mate utilized in developing reduced-fat soft serves and desserts.

Lab tests commissioned by Hotel Icon unveiled the efficacy of Cream Mate, with fat content reduced by over 80% compared to regular soft serve, and total calories halved. The integration of AkkMore into culinary offerings, such as the forest-themed afternoon tea at Green restaurant, showcases its potential for innovative and sustainable dining experiences.

Beyond its immediate applications, PolyU's development addresses pressing health concerns in Hong Kong, where a significant portion of the population grapples with obesity and diabetes. Moreover, by reducing food waste and lowering the carbon footprint of the foodservice industry, AkkMore contributes to broader environmental sustainability goals.

As the alt-fat revolution gains momentum globally, AkkMore stands as a great new example of innovation, offering a holistic solution that bridges health, sustainability, and culinary excellence.

[Image credits: PolyU]


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