When the Prague Monitor was invited to the press conference launch of the Mana burger, it was a must see and try. A small company from the outskirts of Prague, scientifically developing nutritionally balanced and environmentally sustainable food supplements, joining the race for the ideal plant based burger. This is a first for this type of food from the Czech Republic, and perhaps the best to date globally.
Heaven Labs s.r.o. is a start-up from the Prague region launching its first product in 2014. Being very concerned about the environmental impacts of growing food needed to feed the earth’s growing population, the lab invented a powder food supplement that mixes with water and becomes the equivalent of an entire meal. At about CZK 40 an instant meal portion, the company reckons it’s the cheapest calorie/nutrition/price value available globally! One portion is 400 calories and equals about 20% of an adults recommended daily calorie intake; price CZK 40.
Yesterday’s press conference launch started shortly after 16:00 with Jakub Krejcik, one of the co-founders of the company. Starting with a presentation detailing how and why the company started. The main theme was the environmental impact humans have had on earth. The particle pollution today is 403 PPM, which is close to the levels 11 million years ago, a time which was not pleasant to live on earth. Humans massacre 70 billion animals annually to feed themselves. The trends are not sustainable and the earth needs solutions. Mana, the meal supplement, is one option.
Now the second phase – a massively popular food item which is considered to have some of the most devastating impact to our global environment: Beef, and the burger. The answer? The Mana burger: involving three years of lab work on all considered ingredients, and then researching the optimal mix of these ingredients in perfect harmony. The result is a patty(130g) with 20g of quality protein, quality fiber 4.7g, Omega 3 fats from seaweed, 22g of healthy plant-based oils and only 4g of complex sugars. The researchers also managed to ensure there are 14 vitamins and 24 minerals in each patty. All this goodness managed in a way that is easy for one’s body to digest and make use of. As Mr. Krejcik said “This is not a food aimed at Vegans, but rather the opposite. This was invented so that everyone who loves and enjoys meat, yet wishes to eat healthy, fully nutritious food, produced in a way that is sustainable and less harmful to the environment. We are convinced that this is the healthiest plant-based burger currently available in the world.”
The result is perhaps the most supreme plant-based burger out there. Production of the burger also uses 99% less water, 92% less land, produces 90% less greenhouse gases, and consumes 46% less energy than a traditional all-beef patty. The most amazing part: it costs CZK 60 a patty – all technology, sustainability, and nutrients included. At about CZK 400 a kilogram, it is less costly then quality veal, pork or beef.
What does it taste like? After an hour’s presentation with questions and answers, the team at Mana brought out the burgers! They were great. The burgers were hot, red, thick and served in a Kaiser roll with pickles, vegan cheese and some other stuff – I was enjoying it so much I forgot to take note. The burger had that slight crisp, from when a burger is grilled properly and served fresh, the plant-based patty was refreshing and filling, but without the stone-in-the-stomach feel after woofing a beef burger down. If this is what saving the world tastes like, bring it on! I have already preordered some burgers for the estimated end of March first commercial delivery date on mojemana.cz. It’s a burger everyone can join: Even children as young as 3.
The company is growing very rapidly. From 2015, the first full year selling Mana, revenue was about CZK 23 million. This year Mr. Krejcik expects revenue of CZK 200 million. There is a new production hall being built outside of Prague, a research center and an international expansion to manage. The company has a subsidiary in Germany and a recently opened office in New York to serve the United States. For the United States, production will soon be moved overseas in order to cut the carbon footprint of the distribution.
We wish them well and thank them for the opportunity to be a part of this launch, and get onboard with movement.