Mudjai brand uses splitgill mushroom to create plant-based food.
More consumers are turning to plant-based food for health and environmental reasons.
Plant-based food creates sustainable income for local communities.
The Mudjai story started in rubber plantations in southern Thailand. Due to the price instability of the rubber industry, Pariya Sirikul, director of Innofo Co.,Ltd was seeking options for additional income, he noticed that splitgill mushrooms grew well alongside rubber trees, and that their texture was similar to meat.
In 2018, Sirikul acquired both knowledge and training from the Marketing Organization for Farmers (MOF) and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) on splitgill mushrooms. Studies revealed that splitgill mushrooms are high in protein, beta-glucan that help fight cancer, and essential amino acids found in meat. Sirikul saw a business opportunity driven by the growth in vegan and plant-based food.
“People are more health and environmentally conscious than before,” he says. “They seek alternative food that is good for their health and also environment friendly. Plant-based food is the key, but there are also challenges for people who are allergic to nuts, and that’s where Mudjai comes in.”
After studying the eating behaviour of people on plant-based diets, Sirikul developed his first plant-based burger patty. The first item promoted at trade shows in Thailand, it was not popular because Thais mainly consume rice and meat dishes. So, he created the meatless grilled skewer and satay menu items for Thai consumers.
“The meatless grilled skewer and satay are now the best-selling menu items from 2019 to 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic” he says.
These became popular on international markets which are already saturated with meatless burgers.
“We should use Thai ingredients in our recipes to differentiate the brand’s uniqueness from others in the market,” he says.
Sirikul is not just driven by a desire to maximise profit, but to create a sustainable sector.
“For me it’s about helping people as well,” he says. “I started this business because it offers an alternative income for people when the rubber price goes down. I conduct training courses to share my knowledge with farmers and distribute wealth to our local communities and networks. Success is not limited just to yourself. We need to help with the sustainability and development of our country.”
The entrepreneur is full of praise for the work of the DITP. He benefited greatly from attending the online business matching activity and packaging design development course under the Tonkla to Goal project hosted by the DITP’s New Economy Academy.
To explore Thai food and beverages, don’t miss THAIFEX-Anuga Asia 2022, at IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok from May 24 to 28, 2022.
For more information, visit https://thaifex-anuga.com/en/
For more information about Mudjai, visit: https://www.facebook.com/mudjai.th/
Words by Ploylada Prommate.
Photo courtesy of Mudjai