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Green protein machines
Hinoman is also in the plant-based protein game with its high-protein whole food ingredient Mankai - harvested from the leaves of a tiny aquatic plant from the duckweed family, and has just secured a $15m investment from Ajinomoto, which has acquired the exclusive sales rights for Mankai in Japan.
Dubbed the “world’s smallest vegetable”, Mankai has an amino acid profile "similar to egg" and can be added to everything from pasta to bread, noodles, protein shakes and powders, bars and crackers, claims Hinoman, which has developed a hi-tech - and highly-scalable - process designed to grow the plant without pesticides in a closed system.
While Hinoman can manipulate the production process such that the plant can produce up to 60% protein, the current set up consistently produces a whole food ingredient with a protein content of 45% by dry weight, VP business development Udi Alroy told FoodNavigator-USA.
Ajinomoto will sell processed foods featuring Mankai, as well as selling it as an ingredient.