PROBLEM: The world’s growing population wants more protein – but the earth’s resources are dwindling..
SOLUTION: Plant-based, lab-grown, and fast-growing meat.
One of the best things about attending surgical conferences with my sister is that we get updates on some new impressive technology and innovations. It is not the same as reading something on the internet and wondering whether what I read is true or not as it is to meet face to face surgeons and engineers who tell you honest and fresh solutions for age-old problems.
While my sister prepares for her speech, I got a change to meet and have a conversation about the topics that sparked my interest. How you eat – it all could change. I learned about a few companies that currently challenging the statue que and giving us a look into the future. Read on to find out how:
AMERICANS LOVE PROTEIN.
Each year they eat an average of 201 pounds of meat per capita, more than double the global average. It’s a figure that many believe is unsustainable if the anticultural industry is to feed a growing planet on less land and using fewer resources.
A promising class of startups believes the solution is not to ask eaters to give up meat but instead to make actual meat more sustainable and alternatives more convincingly meatlike. And the companies are turning to cutting-edge food technology to do it.
To satisfy beef cravings, “Impossible Foods” has developed a plant-based burger that looks, and tastes uncannily like one made from the real McCoy. Its secret is heme, and iron-rich molecule that gives meat its meaty taste. Heme can be found in the roots of nitrogen fixing plants, but Impossible Foods determined that it was more economical and sustainable to make it through industrial fermentation- a process by which it transfers a gene from the soybean plant into yeast, grows the yeast, and then isolates heme in the resulting broth.
In the seafood department, strartup “Aquabouty” has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for fast-growing salmon that have been genetically engineered to get to market weight in about half the time as unmodified fish. And for poultry needs, “Memphis Meats” is commercializing what is says is the “world’s first chicken produced without the animal.” The company grows meat in tanks by feeding living animal cells oxygen, sugar, and other nutrients. The process uses about 1% of the land and 10% of the water needed for conventional animal agriculture.
A complicating factor in all of this has nothing to do with the science. It’s that the target market for these products-people who care about the carbon footprint of what they eat-is also resistant to mixing technology with food (e.g., the backlash against genetically modified organisms). These promising startups will have to convince consumers not only that their food tech isn’t, scary, but that it may be the only way they can have their meat and eat it too.
These promising startups will have to convince consumers not only that their food tech isn’t, scary, but that it may be the only way they can have their meat and eat it too.CLICK TO TWEET
INDUSTRY STATS Sources: OECD; Harris Poll
What are your thoughts about this genetically engendered protein and would you eat it? Let us know in the comments below.
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“People don’t work for companies, they work for people.”
Viktoriya and Oksana Gruzdyn are Nutritionists and Immunotherapy Researchers based in Detroit, MI. They specialize in helping people reverse autoimmune and other chronic illnesses by optimizing their immune function and cellular repair.