Meat the Mushroom is a plant-based food company founded in May 2021 and headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland by co-founders Marvin Montague Jr and his wife Aleah Montague. The company’s flagship product is Shroomacon, a vegan bacon made from sliced king oyster mushrooms instead of pork.
Shroomacon is made from just 5 clean label ingredients – mushrooms, olive oil, natural smoke flavor, salt and black pepper. It is manufactured by slicing king oyster mushrooms into thin slices to mimic the texture of bacon rather than producing it in a factory mold like other vegan bacons. The mushrooms are marinated to infuse flavor. This artisanal process means that no two Shroomacon slices are exactly identical, like natural bacon strips.
The resulting crispy mushroom strips deliver the taste, texture, smell and sizzle of traditional pork bacon but are cholesterol-free and contain no nitrates or other concerning additives found in processed meat products. Shroomacon is also soy-free and gluten-free making it suitable for various dietary needs and restrictions.
In customer reviews, Shroomacon is often described as having an uncanny similarity to real bacon in terms of taste and mouthfeel. Customers highlight the smoky flavor and report that it perfectly mimics the crispness of pork bacon when prepared properly. The product has proven to satisfy not only vegetarians and vegans but also pork-eaters looking to reduce their consumption of processed meats for health reasons.
Shroomacon’s tagline promises it can deliver “everything you love about pork bacon — and nothing you don’t.”
The genesis of Meat the Mushroom stems from Marvin’s personal health journey and passion for making plant-based eating more accessible. After being diagnosed with asthma as a child and heart disease in his 20s, Marvin turned to vegetarianism and later veganism which he credits with resolving his lifelong asthma and reversing his heart condition. His transformative experience fueled Marvin’s mission to showcase the health benefits of plant-based eating.
Though Marvin initially aspired to open a vegan restaurant, his serendipitous creation of the Shroomacon recipe inspired him to launch Meat the Mushroom alongside his wife Aleah. While developing meatless options for his envisioned restaurant, Marvin accidentally engineered the breakthrough vegan bacon product. Capitalizing on the fortunate discovery, the couple founded their plant-based CPG company to bring Shroomacon to market. The manufacturing process for Shroomacon was perfected over nearly a year of experimentation and iteration.
Meat the Mushroom co-founder Aleah Montague serves as the Chief Marketing Officer overseeing the brand’s digital marketing and partnerships. With over a decade of experience in retail marketing, she has implemented results-driven strategies to build awareness of Meat the Mushroom’s mission and products. Aleah also manages relationships with grocery retailers to expand distribution of Shroomacon nationwide.
In addition to distribution in specialty chains like Wegmans, Meat the Mushroom has partnered directly with local community stores and markets to make Shroomacon available in areas with limited access to fresh, healthy plant-based options. Aligning with founding mission, the company aims to provide plant-based alternatives in underserved communities with higher rates of diet-related chronic illnesses.
Aleah explains that she and Marvin “are firm believers that what we eat, makes the biggest difference in our life and health.” The co-founders hope to inspire dietary change through conveniently available plant-based substitutes like Shroomacon. By replicating the taste and texture of familiar foods like bacon, they believe Meat the Mushroom’s mushroom-based products can make the transition to veganism or reducing meat intake easier and more sustainable for the mainstream.
The young company is actively developing additional pork alternative products to join their flagship Shroomacon bacon. Their mushroom-based product roadmap includes releasing a chorizo sausage and boneless ribs to continue growing their pork-free meat portfolio.
As a mission-driven business, Meat the Mushroom aims to prove that plant-based eating can be accessible, enjoyable and improve individual health outcomes. By innovating realistic vegan pork products, the startup hopes to provide an easy pathway to a diet rich in plants.