Humans are known to like the rich, deep, complex taste of meat fat. Unfortunately, these satisfying characteristics aren’t naturally found in plant foods. Until now…

Scientists at local Canberran business Nourish Ingredients have discovered that they can give fermented yeast and fungi cells the same characteristics as beef, chicken and pork.

Head of Brand and Creative Tania Donohue said the products will help feed the almost 10 billion people on the planet.

“It is impossible to feed 10 billion people meat based products,” she said.

“There simply isn’t enough agriculture in the world to have enough cows, sheeps, pigs etc. to feed that much protein to that many people.”

Over the last few years, consumers have become excited when the first generation of plant-based products launched. The products were fundamentally un-animal-like, so rather than targeting vegans and vegetarians, the company is now targeting the other 90 percent of the population who eat meat.

“If you’re going to make a real impact and change you’re going to have to produce a product that carnivores are going to want to consume,” Ms Donohue said.

Once the product is perfected Nourish plans to sell it to plant based manufactures (such as Beyond Burgers or Impossible Burgers) and flavour houses who will sell them to supermarkets and retailers. 

The company was able to develop the product through metabolic pathways: discovering what characteristics made meat so desirable. They found their answer in nature. Through molecular dissection, they identified the exact potent cell/s within meat that gives it its flavour, aroma and morish texture. Scientists then went searching for this identical molecule within non- animal products and found it was hidden in our soil; within fungi and yeast microbes from the earth. 

The scientists used precision fermentation technology to concentrate these molecules into potent fats with an intense animal impact. These molecules are able to reproduce the exact taste of meat and also create the same natural cooking reaction; the browning, aromas and sizzling that people love from a perfectly cooked steak.

In 2022 the start-up company received 45 million dollars in funding from various Australian investors. Over the past month Nourish executives have travelled to five different countries, pitching their product to international investors hoping to secure more funding. The two current main investors being Horizon (Hong Kong) and Main Sequence (Australia – linked to CSIRO).

Once the product is perfected and shipped out to the various manufacturers, the product will be stripped of its distasteful ‘vegan’ stigma and marketed to carnivores.

Carnivore and  Head of Health and Safety at Nourish, Brian Selmes admitted that he would not have eaten these plant based alternatives when he was younger and believes education is key.

“I think I am just a bit more educated than I was back then,” said Selmes.

“I think it is important to let (the world know) that the price of meat is just going to be going up because there are going to be more people on this earth and we aren’t going to be able to produce enough beef.

“There are other taxes that the government will put on meat because of its negative impact on the environment. People are going to have to get on board with plant based proteins because it will just be prohibitively expensive to buy the real thing eventually.

“So I think, get with it or you are not going to be able to afford your burger.”

Since his recent employment at Nourish, Selmes admits he has become more aware of his carbon footprint and plans to cut down on meat from an environmental point of view. The company makes it a priority to thoroughly educate all their employees in regard to the environmental impacts of their product.

“The negative impact all the cattle have is quite significant and I think we as a society need to get our head around eating meat alternative,” he said.

As Nourish perfects their product, they test new cooking flavours and techniques on any willing employees. Mr Selmes has been involved in tasting menu items such as “chicken” satay, “beef” ragu and “beef” tacos prepared by Nourish’s private chef Ernesto Rodriguez-Vecilla. 

“Beef” Tacos – Image supplied by Brian Selmes (Head of Health and Safety at Nourish Ingredients).


“The taste was really surprising, it was great! The food was not drowning in sauce, so it was mostly the way he cooked the meat and the flavour blew me away, I would eat that any day,” Mr Selmes said.

Ms Donohue said that the company’s next milestone is securing the ‘series B’ (international) funding as well as building a fermentation plant in Singapore which will produce the product on a mass scale. 

It is not known as to when this plant based product is expected to hit the supermarket shelves.