The billionaire says fake burgers could solve one of the world's biggest problems.
Carnivores are falling for the magic of a longer menu full of plant-based options.
Given how important meat has been to the human story, and how vegetarianism and veganism has done a takeover of your Instagram feed, you might wonder what happens to the human body if you walk away from it completely. Well, wonder no more.
Yes, the plant-based, beyond-meat food revolution is here and it seems to be taking over the North American diet. Whether you are frequenting your local Wendy’s, A&W, or Macdonald’s purveyor of fine eats, you are now being subliminally encouraged to “save the planet” by putting your mouth where your money is and purchasing one of the many meatless burger options.
Startups say fungus-based protein has many benefits over alternatives. Fungus-based protein, these companies say, can be produced from well-known food sources with less processing than plant-based products, which require heating and pressing to give them the look and texture of meat. And because fungi can be grown in large fermenters in labs, they say fungus-based protein may offer the same potential efficiency as lab-grown meat in terms of land, energy and water use.
The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people — and I'm not going to name these brands because I'm afraid I will be associated with the critique of it," says Mackey, "but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods."
This is good news, because the time has come to scale up fake meat, fast. Why? Because in the fight to stave off climate change, meat replacement is—forgive me—one of the lowest-hanging fruits.
Until we have real leadership on climate, changing what we eat is the biggest thing we can do to save the planet.
It turns out the answer may depend on whether your priorities lie with your personal health or the health of the planet.
Meat alternatives are clearly having a moment — and it’s offering us a glimpse into a different future for meat. Every year, more than 9 billion animals in the US are raised and killed on factory farms. Our factory farm system has contributed to a range of problems, from increasing antibiotic resistance to the climate crisis. Proponents of meat alternatives say they could help change that equation.
Let’s sort the hype from the reality. Here are nine questions you might have had about meatless meat products and their leap to the mainstream.
From beetroot burgers to hoisin ‘duck’, imitation meats are everywhere. But are these substitutes any healthier for us to eat?
Let’s imagine a world in which some of these companies succeed. They’ve hit full cow, at a price point that’s comparable to slaughtered beef. In five years, will we all eat plant burgers at our Fourth of July barbecues?
There is, it would seem, nothing but bleak news in U.S. farm country. Soybean prices are down. Corn is also still way below its highs, as is wheat. Then there’s the trade war with China, which has cost farmers access to one of their biggest markets, and the non-stop spring rains, which inundated fields.
But there is one bright spot: the pea. Long an afterthought for most farmers -- largely just something planted to help with crop rotations -- the tiny legume has suddenly gotten pulled into the alt-protein craze fueled by the likes of Beyond Meat Inc. and the Impossible Burger.
Beyond Meat has a surprising number of competitors and plans to expand around the globe.
The buzz surrounding plant-based meat startups Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods — with both aiming to challenge the conventional definition of what meat is with claims their products taste just like meat —has helped to fuel a bigger-than-ever appetite for meat alternatives of all kinds, at a time when consumers want more options on their plates.
And the demand isn’t just coming from the likes of fast food chains like Carl’s Jr. and Burger King that have respectively rolled out their own Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger.
AROUND THE TIME I turned 40, I decided to address the trifecta of concerns I had about climate change, animal rights, and my health: I went hard vegan. My doctor had been warning me to cut down on red meat, and I had also moved to a rural Japanese farming village populated by farmers growing a wide variety of veggies. They were delicious.
After a while, the euphoria wore off and the culinary limitations of vegan food, especially when traveling, became challenging.
Fast-food restaurants are rushing to add meat-free burgers to their menus, hoping these higher-priced alternatives will help them capture additional traffic and dollars even as suppliers have struggled to fill all the orders.
Replacing your usual burger with a plant-based version might not have as big an impact as you thought.
People who don’t eat meat are more at risk of breaking bones, especially their hips, according to the largest study yet of this risk. The effect may stem from a lack of calcium and protein in their diet, as well as the fact that they tend to be thinner and so have less flesh to cushion a fall.
For decades, we've heard that lab-grown meat is just around the corner. So what's the hold up?
In this feature episode of If Our Bodies Could Talk, senior editor James Hamblin travels across California to learn about the science and psychology of diversifying people's protein-intake portfolio.
The dream of a veggie burger that actually tastes like a hamburger rather than a divot from the 10th fairway at Brookside has, apparently, become reality.
It's time for agribusiness actors to take the plant-based path. Driven by an activist fund, Nestlé has just separated from the Herta delicatessen division to move towards more plant-based options. McDonald's will soon offer a vegetarian burger, and Danone wants to compete with French organic brand, Bjorg, in alternative "dairy" products.
Companies are searching for all sorts of substitutes. Mealworm powder, anyone?
From jackfruit meat to shrimp grown in labs, here's a guide to the clean meat alternatives coming to Asia.
It’d be great if a burger-a-day diet was healthy. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not the worst. You’ve got protein in there and hopefully some veggies on top (and on the side) , and even some fiber from the roll (you used whole grain, right?).
Unfortunately, study after study shows that meat as a protein source just isn't that healthy. It's far better to get that necessary protein from plants. And yes, that association is a correlation, not a causation.
Americans have a love affair with meat. Many romanticize the sizzle of a steak, the iron-pink bleed of a medium-rare burger, and the imagined farm they came from.
It’s a love that has come at a cost: An enormous industrialized livestock system rife with animal abuse uses up massive amounts of land and water. It may also be responsible for nearly one-sixth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Yet, tech-driven startups say they can offer a better way.
We need more than moral arguments against meat. We need a technological revolution in better, cleaner food.
New technology has refined alternative protein products for a broader public, according to Dan Altschuler Malek, a venture partner in the investing group New Crop Capital. “Vegan food has been around for decades, since the late ’60s, early ’70s. At first, it was for ethical consumers who were willing to sacrifice,” he says.
“We had to wait for the ’90s for it to become more palatable. But now it’s a third generation with new technologies and the consumer does not have to sacrifice taste any more: people are just enjoying it because it’s good, not because it’s plant-based.”
Whatever you call them, there’s no doubt that alternative meats are skyrocketing in popularity. But take a look at what these foods are made from. Plant-based meat isn’t as healthy as you’d think.
At Beyond Meat, we believe there is a better way to feed the planet. Our mission is to create The Future of Protein® – delicious plant-based burgers, sausage, crumbles, and more-- made directly from simple plant-based ingredients.
Animal agriculture occupies almost half the land on earth, consumes a quarter of our freshwater and destroys our ecosystems. So we’re doing something about it: we’re making meat using plants, so that we never have to use animals again. That way, we can eat all the meat we want, for as long as we want. And save the best planet in the known universe.