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Koji – The Real Future Of Food

Published on
11 January 2024
Chef Silvano
Chef Silvano

Dive into the world of Koji – The Future Of Food, the game-changing ingredient revolutionising our plates and palates. Uncover its secrets, from farm to fork, and join the sustainable food movement.


The Raw Wonder of Koji

Koji, in its raw form, is a filamentous fungus (Aspergillus oryzae) that has been the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine for centuries. It’s the magic behind soy sauce, miso, and sake. But before it graces our tables, it begins as a spore that requires careful cultivation.


Cultivating Koji

To make Koji consumable, the spores are inoculated onto a substrate, often steamed rice or soybeans. The mixture is then kept in a warm, humid environment to encourage growth. Over the course of a few days, the Koji transforms the substrate by secreting enzymes that break down starches and proteins into simpler, flavorful compounds.


From Koji to Burger

To craft a burger from Koji, the process gets creative. The Koji-rice mixture can be fermented further to develop umami-rich flavors. Then, it’s combined with other plant-based ingredients to form a patty that can rival the taste and texture of beef.


Koji Production: An Art and Science

Koji production is both an art and a science, requiring precise temperature and humidity control. It’s traditionally farmed in koji-rooms where the environment can be carefully monitored. Modern methods use advanced technology to optimize these conditions, ensuring the highest quality product.


Koji on the Market

Koji comes to the market in various forms – as dried spores, in its raw fermented state, or as a component in products like miso and soy sauce. It’s already a staple in Asian cuisine and is gaining traction globally as a versatile culinary ingredient.


Koji’s Environmental Footprint

Koji has a relatively low environmental impact. It requires minimal water and space to produce, especially compared to animal agriculture. Its waste is organic and can be composted, reducing the need for disposal. Transportation of Koji, like any product, does contribute to its carbon footprint, but its overall impact is significantly less than that of meat.


Accessibility and Cost

Koji is readily available for purchase in consumable forms at Asian markets and specialty stores. The cost can vary, but it is generally affordable and offers a high yield. Compared to beef, Koji requires far less space to produce an equivalent amount of protein.


Nutritional Profile

Koji is rich in proteins and enzymes and can be a good source of vitamins, particularly B-vitamins. While it doesn’t have the same fatty acid profile as beef, it offers a range of health benefits without the cholesterol or saturated fat.


The Plant-Based Dilemma

While moving towards a plant-based diet can significantly reduce one’s carbon footprint, it’s not a silver bullet for saving the planet. The industrial production of supplements, transportation, and the potential for nutrient deficiencies are valid concerns. A balanced approach, incorporating a variety of foods and mindful of the bigger picture, is essential.

To Supplement or Not?

The idea of relying on industrial supplements to achieve a balanced plant-based diet may seem counterintuitive. The key is to plan diets that are naturally rich in essential nutrients, reducing the need for supplements.

The Bigger Picture

It’s frustrating to think that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eating fewer animal products. It could be offset by other environmental impacts. However, the answer isn’t to abandon plant-based diets. But to strive for a holistic approach to sustainability that considers all aspects of food production and consumption.

Can I buy it?

Koji can indeed be purchased by private individuals, and it’s available in various forms. The cost of Koji can vary depending on the form it’s in. Such as spores, rice inoculated with Koji, or in a ready-to-use product like miso or shoyu. And where you’re purchasing it. Generally, you might find Koji spores or Koji-inoculated rice ranging from a few dollars. Upwards of twenty dollars, depending on the quantity and quality.



To replicate 1 kilogram of ground beef using Koji, the amount needed varies by recipe and method. Cooks often use Koji to enhance flavors or initiate fermentation. For a Koji meat alternative, mix Koji-fermented grains or legumes for volume and protein. The quantity hinges on your recipe.



When making a homemade Koji burger, begin with 1 to 2 cups of dry rice mixed with Koji spores. This expands and mixes with other ingredients to form burger patties. It won’t equal 1 kilogram of beef but provides a foundation for multiple meat alternative servings. Koji enhances flavor and nutrition, not mass.