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Happy Foie: The sustainable alternative to foie gras

In the podcast episode "Käse, Wein & BlaBlaBla" by Johannes Quirin, Tobias Sudhoff and Phillip Esser talk about the role of enjoyment and the success of their first Happy Foie...

The two not only talk about their products and their company, but also about their goals, their vision of a sustainable food industry and reactions from outside. The jointly formulated goal is to accelerate the "food turnaround" towards high-quality and tasty products that reduce the burden on the environment, nature and animals to a minimum.

The development of their first product line, an alternative to conventional foie gras, which in German means foie gras or duck foie gras, took place as part of Sudhoff's activities in the FoodLab of the university in Münster. The initial idea for this had been maturing in Sudhoff's head for a number of years and was triggered at a time when Sudhoff was working as the head chef of a star restaurant. Sudhoff recognized the continuing high demand for conventional foie gras and himself appreciated the exclusive taste and versatility of the product - at the same time, however, he did not want to put conventional foie gras on his menu due to the controversial production methods.

The greatest challenge in the development of Happy Foie was to precisely reproduce the meltiness characteristic of foie gras and the unique, fine taste of foie gras. Sudhoff is therefore particularly proud of the result of his creation and the fact that Happy Foie cannot be distinguished from conventional foie gras, even in double-blind tastings with foie gras experts and star chefs.

In the manufacturing process of Happy Foie, full-size poultry liver from organic poultry that is guaranteed not to be force-fed is subsequently enriched with high-quality organic fats. According to developer Tobias Sudhoff, the secret of the melt-in-the-mouth Happy Foie lies in the recipe on the one hand and precise temperature control on the other. "This is the only way we can get an identical structure and the compactness of conventional foie gras," says Sudhoff, describing the entire process as "high-end food technology". Since every detail, such as time and temperature during bottling, plays an important role, every batch produced goes through Sudhoff's personal technical and sensory quality check.

“Supplying consistently high quality to our customers is our top priority. Only if our product quality is constantly at the highest level can we manage to establish a sustainable alternative to foie gras on a large scale in the long term.”

Due to the corona pandemic, the focus of production was initially on the bottling glasses. After the pandemic subsided, the portfolio was expanded to include Happy Foie in a 250g and 500g roll in order to reach both private customers and restaurateurs. 

Sudhoff and Esser are currently working on presenting Happy Foie to gastronomy and putting the product on the menus of fine dining and starred restaurants. The tongue-in-cheek word of the two's highest goal is to become purveyor to King Charles, who banned foie gras from the menus of the royal palace as one of his first official acts.

When asked how restaurateurs react to the products, Sudhoff replied that there was skepticism at first, but enthusiasm after trying them. In order to convince a restaurateur of a product, taste, smell and texture are the most important ingredients. Everything else is secondary, says Esser.

Overall, the two received a lot of encouragement and positive comments on social media for their project. A positive response, which Esser remembers, was a call from a customer who sincerely thanked that there was finally an alternative to conventional foie gras and that she could now enjoy one of her favorite dishes with a clear conscience for the first time. This is exactly the kind of feedback that encourages the two to keep going with what they do.

And to the now frequently asked question of whether a vegan variant is also being planned, Sudhoff and Esser have a positive answer: "Yes - and even one with the sensory properties known from liver." The work on this is being carried out in the FoodLab of the Münster University of Applied Sciences already.

Happy Foie is currently available in five variants. According to Esser, the variants goose and duck+truffle are the most popular variants among end customers. Gastronomy often resorts to the classic goose or duck. In addition to its own online shop, Happy Foie is also available in delicatessen and food retailers. The individual points of sale can be viewed on the website.

But that's not all the Happy Foie website has to offer. In addition to the products and points of sale, there are a number of great recipes to try and serve . At the end of the podcast, Quirin, Sudhoff and Esser talk about the combination and preparation options for Happy Foie and the matching wines.

So if you're still looking for inspiration, you should definitely check out the podcast listen

You can access the podcast here .



Discover all Happy Foie products here

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