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Prime Roots, a plant-based meat company based in Berkeley, California, is making meat alternatives a little differently. While most alternatives are made from soy, peas, or wheat, Prime Roots uses koji to replicate the taste and texture of meat, without having a negative impact on consumer health or the environment.

Koji is a fungus native to Japan and is rich in protein and has a similar taste and texture to animal meat. The fungi are also used to create miso and soy sauce. The company launched Koji Bacon in 2020 and created this popular product by mixing koji with plant-based fats to create a block of “pork belly”.

Since then the company has launched more than 30 meal alternative products, and they continue to develop and test several forms of Koji Meats.

The company’s mission is to reach a wide audience, including meat-eaters. They are doing this by beginning to make bulk deli products to encourage consumers to make the single swap. Their goal is to have their Koji Meat line as an option next to animal meats in restaurants, deli cases, and sandwich shops. 

The newest Koji Meat line features ham, turkey, and salami, which can all be hand-sliced in a deli. The company also has Koji Pâtés, pepperoni and foie gras.

Prime Roots offers its products in flavors like cracked black pepper turkey and savory smoky ham, so it’s easy for meat-eaters to make that transition. Their products are GMO-free and have a straightforward ingredient list.

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