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These cheese alternatives aren’t plant-based—they’re microbe-based

A sample of shredded mozzarella from a new company called Superbrewed Food tops a personal pizza, and it’s gooey and stretchy, with a slightly salty tang. The core protein of the cheese isn’t made with dairy, but neither is it plant-based. It’s made, instead, with microbes.

Superbrewed Food’s microbe-based protein is made through anaerobic fermentation—the same process that turns barley into beer and cabbage into kimchi—and the company says it can be used in both meat-free and dairy-free products. Superbrewed Food, which has a production facility in Little Falls, Minnesota, plans to launch with a line of cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and mozzarella.

Consumers may be familiar with probiotics, living microorganisms usually consumed via supplements or in yogurts, and prebiotics, which are fibers that feed the bacteria in your gut microbiome. Fermented foods can contain probiotics, and our gut bacteria does the fermentation of prebiotics. But there’s another term: postbiotics, which are basically the result of all that fermentation. Superbrewed Food creates its protein by fermenting a deactivated probiotic (as opposed to one that is alive and active). “We’re the endpoint of that organism growing in your body,” Superbrewed Food CEO Brian Tracy says about their proprietary protein. “You’re absorbing it anyway. This is native to your nutrition.”

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