Quorn is a brand name of a meat substitute made from a substance called mycoprotein. The official Quorn website explains that mycoprotein is actually a fungus, related to mushrooms, and comparable in health benefits to meat, because it contains essential amino acids. Quorn comes in many forms, from ground "beef" crumbles to "chicken" tenders.
Mycoprotein was developed because of the fear that the world would become deficient in protein-rich foods. The official Quorn website tells the story of the development of the Quorn products. In the 1960s, the mycoprotein fungus was isolated and work began on an edible form of the protein. Quorn as a food product was approved as safe for human consumption and introduced to the public in 1985. It was first offered for sale in the United States in 2002.
Quorn is growing in popularity as well as in public exposure. It was recently featured on "The Today Show," as part of a list of 40 foods with health benefits for those over 40. In 2005 and 2006, Quorn was ranked the top-selling frozen meat-free brand in natural food stores, according the Quorn website.
One of the main benefits of Quorn is the fact that it is rich in complete, vegetarian protein. According to thedailyplate.com, one 90-gram serving of Quorn Grounds contains 13 grams of protein. This is comparable to minced meat, at 15 grams of protein per 90-gram serving. Quorn Chicken Style Pieces are not quite as protein-rich as actual chicken breast, with 12 grams and 18 grams, respectively.
Quorn Grounds are also fairly rich in fibre, with 9 grams of carbohydrates per serving, 5 of which are dietary fibre. Quorn Chicken Style Pieces also contain 5 grams of carbohydrates, all of which are dietary fibre, an important part of a health diet. Neither minced meat or chicken breast contain any fibre at all, according to nutritiondata.com.
Quorn Grounds and Quorn Chicken Style Pieces contain similar amounts of fat, with 2.5 grams and 2 grams of fat respectively. This is a significant improvement on real meat products. Minced meat has 12 grams and chicken breast has 8 grams per serving.
There are other reasons why consumers may prefer Quorn to meat products or other meat substitutes. Quorn is a vegetarian protein source, making it an attractive option for those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Quorn is also free of soy, a common allergen, unlike most meat substitutes. It is also low in calories and has no cholesterol.
Although this was not apparent when it was first launched, mycoprotein can be a serious allergen to some people, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. Quorn Foods Inc. has been the object of at least one lawsuit, by a consumer claiming this fact should be included on its product labels. The Quorn company has responded by including on its website a section about the possibility for allergic reactions.