A note from Eben Bayer, Ecovative CEO and Co-founder
2023 is already shaping up to be Ecovative’s biggest ever. But it follows a year full of growth and game changing developments, from major expansions in production scale to high-profile partnerships with world class brands, exciting new innovations in our mycelium technology, and a near doubling of our team size. All that in the midst of immense technical achievements by our team that put Ecovative’s mycelium technology on its current path to global, commercial scale.
We’re making quick progress on all fronts: hides, foams, packaging, food and beyond. This year is when the world will get a sense of what we’ve been building. Last year also marked Ecovative’s 15th birthday, which is an accomplishment in and of itself, testament to the amazing team we’ve gathered and the exciting potential of what we’re building. Above all, 2022 showed us that the last 15 years were just the beginning.
Growing with the Flow
2022 was a huge year of growth for Ecovative. Besides adding 51 new people to our team, we commissioned a brand new raw materials plant, and inaugurated the world’s largest mycelium farm as part of a 120,000 square foot infrastructure expansion, enough to produce three million pounds of mycelium a year. While we built, we also acquired. The purchase of Lambert BV in the Netherlands expands Ecovative’s presence to Europe, enabling unmatched quality control while also establishing the international supply chain that will be essential as we ramp up to full commercial scale.
Mushroom® Packaging Expands
This increase in scale is responding to quickly increasing demand. Along with the COVID pandemic came a boom in e-commerce, creating a surge in interest for sustainable shipping alternatives. That interest is being met by the expansion of Mushroom Packaging, which launched a new website, a new online store, and is quickly growing its list of customers, served by a newly commissioned 20,000 square foot facility that can produce 5 million pieces of mycelium packaging every year. Meghan Olsen, the Director of Mushroom Packaging, even gave a TED Talk exploring how mycelium-based packaging addresses plastic pollution. Meanwhile, our GIY (Grow It Yourself) team at Grow.Bio also undertook a big revamp, with a new site, educational initiatives, and product offerings to inspire experimentation with mycelium at home and in the classroom.
Taking Stock of My®Bacon
Meanwhile, interest in MyBacon has been positively sizzling. Following a big rebrand, MyForest Foods had a huge year, growing from 1 to 32 retail and food service locations, supported by the brand new Swersey Silos Farm, which can produce a million pounds of MyBacon every year on just one acre of land. We also proved the ability to install Ecovative’s AirMycelium technology in existing mushroom farms with our partners at Whitecrest Mushrooms in Ontario, Canada, unlocking huge potential for scale. On top of all that, MyBacon earned a mention as one of Time’s top 200 inventions for 2022.
Expanding the Network
2022 was also a year full of collaborations. Forager, our division focused on foams and textiles for fashion, announced a partnership with ECCO Leather, the world’s largest sustainable tannery. This demonstrates the readiness of traditional industry to embrace our cutting edge materials, and sets the stage for the first lines of fashion products made with Ecovative’s mycelium technology, debuting this year. This also follows Forager’s announcement of the Fashion For Good Cooperative with Vivobarefoot, Pangaia, BESTSELLER, and other top brands who will work with us to develop the next generation of mycelium materials, all supported by our Mycelium Foundry.
Fresh from the Ecovative Lab
The Foundry is a high throughput research lab, dedicated to perfecting new materials in direct collaboration with our brand partners. Ecovative’s Director of Foundry Engineering, Orkan Telhan, explained how the Mycelium Foundry works, and what makes it unlike any other research platform in the world. The Mycelium Foundry works directly with brand partners, using advanced research techniques to develop custom materials that are tuned for specific products and applications. It is the key to bringing our mycelium materials to the mass market.
Designing with Mycelium
Another exciting collaboration was with design students, thanks to the successful inauguration of the Forager Fashion and Design program. The FFAD program put materials into the creative hands of two student designers, who produced beautiful prototype products, providing a vision of the sustainable products to come. There has also been plenty of mycelial exploration with Ecovative’s materials outside of our company, such as luthier Rachel Rosenkrantz’s beautiful MycoCaster; teachers working with fungi as educational medium at Columbia University; artists building floating mycelium gardens; the debut of the world’s first mycelium coffin company, among many others.
Out and About
Ecovative made many new connections in 2022, at events around the country and world. From the Materials Innovation Initiative, to the Biofabricate Summit in NYC, SynBio Beta in California, the Future Fabrics Expo in London, to name a few. It’s always fun to see the reaction our mycelium technology inspires! Even after a blockbuster 2022, we’re so excited to share what we have in store for this year. To keep up with the latest, be sure to sign up for our quarterly newsletter. And as our team continues to grow, check out the Ecovative jobs page for opportunities to become part of the mycelium materials revolution.