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Luiza Villela of Unclassic Foods: Cultivating a Better Food System with Mushrooms

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In the heart of the plant-based movement, where innovation meets passion and ethics, we find founders with stories as diverse as the products they create. Today, in the inaugural edition of “Founder Fridays,” we’re thrilled to spotlight Luiza Villela, the visionary force behind Unclassic Foods.

Background: From Meat-Loving Roots to Vegan Advocacy

Luiza’s journey into the realm of compassionate eating began when she traded the meat-heavy traditions of her Brazilian family for a vegetarian lifestyle. The pivotal moment came when she discovered the fate of dairy cows from a nearby farm. This revelation led her to UC Berkeley’s “Vegan Club,” where her understanding of the ethical implications of consuming animal products deepened.

Academic Exploration and Industry Experience

Luiza’s passion for food led her to the Meat Alternatives lab at UC Berkeley, where she immersed herself in the art and science of plant-based innovation and had the opportunity to work with vegan cheese pioneers, Miyoko’s. Her journey continued with roles at Eclipse Foods, Beyond Meat, and Simulate. Through these experiences, Luiza realized that merely mimicking meat was not enough to drive meaningful change.

A Question and an Answer

“In Brazil, the sense of urgency to stop eating meat is not there,” Luiza reflects. This insight led her to a critical question: “What can we build that people will see as superior rather than inferior?” The answer lay in the fungi kingdom, where Luiza realized that humans often have a passion, perhaps even obsession, for mushrooms and their many fantastical uses. This idea became the foundation for Unclassic Foods.

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Unclassic Foods’ Vision

Unclassic Foods distinguishes itself by using oyster mushrooms not to imitate meat, but to offer a whole-food identity with meaty functionality and application. Luiza’s innovative products—oyster mushroom steak tips and nuggets—reflect this commitment. These frozen, ready-to-eat offerings provide a satisfying, meaty bite without compromising on taste or principles.

Looking Ahead: The Trend of Real Food for Meaty Satisfaction

Luiza Villela’s journey combines real-world experience with a passion for food that delights taste buds while contributing to a better world. The use of whole-food ingredients in applications that satisfy the desire for a meaty experience is a trend worth watching. As Unclassic Foods continues to grow, we eagerly anticipate the next chapters in Luiza’s story.

In the vast landscape of plant-based entrepreneurship, Luiza Villela stands as a testament to the power of blending culinary ingenuity with a commitment to ethical consumption. Unclassic Foods, under her guidance, exemplifies the potential for delicious solutions that resonate with both the palate and the planet.

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