DFSS is coming up March 29th and we’re bringing some of the participants to you now with a pre-summit interview. In this edition we talk to Christopher Lee, Commercial Director (Asia) of Monde Nissin. If you want to see a listing of speakers and sessions, please click here. To register as a delegate, click here.
- Quorn is part of Monde Nissin. Can you please tell us a little about the history and reach of Monde Nissin?
Quorn started back in the 1964 with a very noble cause. It was a time when there was a shortage of food, and the land wasn’t suitable for growing crops. One man named Lord Rank setup a team to begin the search for a new microorganism that could turn plentiful starch into less plentiful protein.
In 1967, after extensive research and screening, the team discovered the fungus Fusarium Venenatum in a field in Marlow in Buckinghamshire, UK. They started to grow the fungus and ferment it to harvest Mycoprotein. After successfully harvesting Mycoprotein, Lord Rank spent almost 20 years trying to prefect the product and to ensure food safety. Finally, in 1985, the first Quorn product was launched in the UK.
To date, Quorn remains the most carefully tested product on the European market.
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
Developing a new category called Green Protein, to which Quorn belongs, together with other sustainable protein sources. Through Quorn, I am able to improve the wellbeing of the people and our planet, and to create sustainable solutions for food security.
With Quorn products, I am able to break the mindset that healthy food equates to bland, to not delicious, and to the need to compromise on food enjoyment.
Every time we do product sampling, the surprised look of the consumers after tasting Quorn brings me joy, because I know that my job eases people’s transition to healthier and more sustainable eating.
- What is your biggest challenge as you attempt to convince people to eat Quorn instead of meat, and how do you attempt to overcome that challenge?
I realize that getting people to try a new food is easy if there is no compromise on the flavor and taste. The biggest challenge is how to turn that trial into a habit. Most people have been consuming meat for the past 30-50 years; so, changing their diet is not an overnight thing. The key here is to start the education process from young.
I am a strong believer in a balanced diet; therefore, I always tell people to start the week right by eating healthy with a Meatless Monday concept rather than to change their diet completely.
- What is one misconception that people have about Quorn?
A lot of people think that Quorn is a processed food which is not, as all our ingredients are natural, and we do not use MSG, preservatives, etc. We grow the fungi in a fermenter and harvest it just like any other crop and cook it just like any natural food.
- Does Quorn intend to expand its range of vegan products?
Definitely. We do see a need to expand the Vegan range, as we want to have more options for the Vegans and to make the food industry even more exciting with a new sustainable protein that does not compromise on taste and eases the transition to healthier and more sustainable eating.