Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Future of Meat is Vegan, Says Bill Gates

Future of Food


Ever since retiring from Microsoft, Billionaire Bill Gates has been philanthropically involved with various humanitarian causes. Feeding the world is one of them. His heart is in the right place, although some of the directions taken are controversial.
Recently, Gates published a thoughtful multimedia essay on his website, entitled The Future of Food – How food scientists are reinventing meat – and how it can benefit everyone. The underlying thesis: world demand for meat is doubling every few decades…the earth cannot sustain this growth…we need a solution…the solution is tech to transform plant proteins into meat equivalents…the end result should be satisfactory to the most nuanced chefs.
Global Demand for Meat
Global Demand for Meat
A company highly touted in the piece is Beyond Meat, whose products are available for sale at Whole Foods Market.
Take, for example, their vegan “Grilled Chicken-Free Strips” product. The protein base is soy and peas. As you can see from the ingredients, a lot of work is required to recreate the mouth feel, texture, and taste of chicken.
Ingredients: Water, soy protein isolate*, pea protein isolate, amaranth, chicken flavor [vegan] (maltodextrin, yeast extract, natural flavoring), expeller-pressed canola oil*, soy fiber*, carrot fiber, contains 0.5% or less of: white vinegar, salt, molasses, garlic, hickory smoke powder, onion, lemon juice concentrate, black pepper, sugar, mustard powder, paprika, sodium alginate, dipotassium phosphate, titanium dioxide (color), calcium sulfate, red and green bell pepper powder, parsley, cayenne pepper.
*non-GMO identity preserved
Have you eaten these or similar products? Can you imagine yourself mostly eating this instead of real chicken?
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A few parting thoughts on the future of meat:
For entire populations that have never eaten meat, is it really that critical to create fake steaks? Why not improve the availability of the types plant based foods they are culturally eating today?
Will our grandchildren, or theirs, look back upon our generation and consider our meat eating as cruel and savage, much as we look upon cannibalism or slave ownership? Will the societal norms and ethics of the 22nd century dictate a human race that is vegan?

Get Fooducated

Meat consumption worldwide has doubled in the last 20 years, and it is expected to double again by 2050. This is happening in large part because economies are growing and people can afford more meat. That's all good news. But raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact. Put simply, there’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people. Yet we can't ask everyone to become vegetarians. We need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources.
Over the past few years I've come across a few companies that are doing pioneering work on innovations that give a glimpse into possible solutions. To be sure, it's still very early, but the work these companies are doing makes me optimistic. I wanted to share with you a look at their work on creating alternatives to meat and eggs that are just as healthful, are produced more sustainably, and taste great.
Read on to learn how their work can benefit everyone.
 
 
 Companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods are experimenting with new ways to use heat and pressure to turn plants into foods that look and taste just like meat and eggs. I tasted Beyond Meat's chicken alternative and was impressed. I couldn't tell the difference between Beyond Meat and real chicken. Beyond Eggs, Hampton Creek Foods' egg substitute, doesn't contain the high cholesterol of real eggs. Even spices are getting re-made: a company called Nu-Tek Food Science has found a way to make potassium chloride taste just like salt, with only a fraction of the sodium.

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