Is this the beginning of the end of meat?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/17/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-meat/?utm_term=.2b39ca176579

March 17

Patrick Brown founded Impossible Foods with the goal of supplanting the meat industry. He believes America’s 230 million omnivores can be made to trade their hamburgers and steaks for a plant-based equivalent, scienced into being.

That vision may yet be a long way off — even Brown admits as much. But next week the concept will get an important early test: Impossible Foods is opening its first large-scale facility in Oakland.

The Oakland plant, which will begin to produce burgers this summer, is the first concrete sign that Impossible Foods and flagship offering are anything more than utopic moonshots. The plant will prove whether or not the concept can scale, which has implications for public health and the environment.

Can a burger made from pea protein replace meat?

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The beyond burger from Beyond Meat aims to replicate the texture, color and taste of a beef burger. (Jayne Orenstein, Joe Yonan/The Washington Post)

It also has consequences for the emerging clean-meat industry, of which Impossible Foods is an early (and highly visible) player. Unlike Boca or Morningstar before them, which sought to corner the vegetarian market, these companies aim to appeal to hardcore meat-eaters by creating a meaty plant-based product. Beyond Meat, a popular vegetarian brand, has dipped a toe in those mainstream waters with its beet-juice “bleeding” Beyond Burger. And earlier this week, the start-up Memphis Meats announced that it had successfully created a lab-grown chicken strip — at a whopping price per pound of $9,000.

The future of meat?

Plant-based and clean meat companies are attracting big investments. This chart shows the current equity funding, according to Crunchbase, for six of them.

Impossible Foods
$182,000,000
Hampton Creek
$120,000,000
Beyond Meat
$17,000,000
Clara Foods
$3,450,000
Memphis Meats
$3,050,000
SuperMeat
$151,340

But few of these companies have proved that they can commercialize yet, and even those that have, like the Beyond Burger, still only sell at Whole Foods. With this new facility, a spokesperson for Impossible Foods said, the company’s production capacity will increase 250-fold — allowing it to supply 1,000 restaurants by the end of this year.

“The mission of the company is to making the existing method for producing meat obsolete,” said Brown on the phone from California, several weeks before the factory’s ribbon-cutting. “That means we need to be competitive everywhere. And soon we will be.”

Proclamations like this one have earned Brown and his six-year-old company constant attention almost since its founding. A former biochemistry professor at Stanford, Brown became interested in industrial meat production after learning that it’s a major contributor to climate change: livestock account for nearly 15 percent of all greenhouse gasses, according to the United Nations.

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Brown became convinced that, given enough time and resources, science could essentially solve that problem by engineering plant-based “meats” that look and taste like the original artifact. Since 2011, he has received more than $180 million in investments from the likes of Bill Gates and Google Ventures to pursue the project.

His first offering is the Impossible Burger: a patty composed largely of wheat and potato proteins that — thanks to a iron-containing molecule called heme — looks, handles and (reportedly!) tastes quite a lot like ground beef. The burger has caught the eye of several high-end chefs, including New York’s David Chang and San Francisco’s Traci Des Jardins, who have put the burger on their respective menus for roughly $15 apiece.

But even as the burger earned rave reviews from curious patrons, its central tenet has remained unproven. Namely, Brown still has to show that he can churn out burgers en masse — and that red-blooded meat-eaters will buy them.

That could prove difficult in two respects, say analysts and advocates who know the industry. First, Brown and his team will need to optimize their supply chain and manufacturing process to bring the price of the Impossible Burger on par with conventional beef.

Some of that will happen naturally, said Bruce Friedrich, the executive director of the Good Food Institute: all food startups, regardless of what they make, benefit from economies of scale as they standardize and mechanize the way they make their food. Prices will also come down once Impossible Foods has a reliable distribution network. And the company has another advantage, as well: Compared to conventional livestock slaughter, its methods are inherently more efficient.

But sourcing has still provided challenges — such as the question of heme. The iron-containing molecule is what makes the Impossible Burger taste like meat. Brown initially extracted it from the root nodules of soybeans, but that process, at scale, costs a fortune and releases a lot of greenhouse gasses. Impossible Foods eventually skirted the issue by engineering yeast that produce heme, meaning that the company no longer needs to extract the molecule from soybeans. It can be produced in vats.

It’s also not the only uncertainty that faces Impossible Foods. The company’s biggest challenge may be getting it to catch on not only with the coastal Whole Foodies who have flocked to Manhattan or Los Angeles to try it thus far, but with average and middle-income Americans. Brown is adamant that his product is not designed to appeal to vegetarians; he’s after the old-school meat-eater, who is motivated largely by price, taste and convenience.

John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State and the president of the Institute of Food Technologists, believes this type of consumer might prove difficult to convince, even if plant-based meats are priced on par with their conventional equivalents. Some focus-groups and studies have suggested that consumers aren’t entirely comfortable with the idea of meat that doesn’t technically have any animal in it.

“So much is going to play out in psychology, more even than in chemistry,” Coupland said. “Meat is an incredibly gendered thing to eat. How is that going to play out? Are you picking the light beer by having this stuff? It’s too early to tell if it’s really going to take off.”

We may find out very shortly. While Impossible Foods is not releasing any details on the new plant’s exact capacity, cost or headcount until after the March 22 launch, it’s already clear that the facility represents a significant ramp-up from what the company has produced thus far.

By the end of the year, Brown said, the burger will be in multiple restaurants, including some chains like Bareburger, which debuted the Impossible Burger at its flagship location in February. Those restaurants won’t all be coastal hotspots, Brown added — they’re pursuing deals in the heartland, as well. Brown has also reportedly been in talks with McDonald’s, though the company doesn’t have that capacity yet.

Such a coup could move the whole industry much closer to dinner tables across America. And other plant-based and clean meat companies are watching the experiences of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat closely, Friedrich said. Their success or failure in scaling could inform the whole market.

“This is brand-new for the plant-based meat industry,” he said. “It’s lifting the whole sector and inspiring other entrepreneurs and food scientists to get involved with it.”

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5 thoughts on “Is this the beginning of the end of meat?

  1. This would have so many benefits! Most important is that it would save animal lives. If successful, it would be earth-friendly and reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. Since the developing world aspires to our lifestyle, including food, developing these vegan foods is even more crucial for animals and planet.

    Even some Big Ag business are investing in fake meat development. If the prospects start looking good for demand and profits, more investment will be attracted.

    Some hardcore meataholics will never give up on regular corpseburgers, but every convert will help.

  2. Things on this planet are now set in motion (increasing threats of global war, more local/regional wars, extreme weather phenomena with mega droughts, fires, massive famine), which will be next to impossible for humans (not to mention non-humans) to cope with. Whether or not more or less meat is consumed is trivial at this point in time, compared to world chaos and society breakdown.

    http://www.foranimals.org

  3. It would be better for our health and the planet if all humans ate less meat or no meat. It is unsustainable: We are the cause of the on-going great anthropocene extinction era. Elk and deer do not need to be saved from wolves or other predators, they have millenniums of natural balance for mutual benefit. It is the blood sport killers (hunters and trappers) that are the additive problem. Humans kill 27 million animals daily for consumption, millions more yearly from hunting and”management” and this is not counting the sea life, 90 billion per year for consumption. Humans kill millions of sharks every year.

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-meat/

    Animal farming (aka ranching) is one of the most damaging activities to the earth and cruelest things we do to the planet, the environment (land, sea and air) and animals. It is also eating up wilderness and forest and jungles, polluting rivers and streams, polluting the air, down drawing stream levels.

    Man is crueler than any alien so far imagined or presented in alien movies. Man is working himself toward extinction by animal farming (aka ranching, extraction industries, development, encroachment on the wild, destruction of biodiversity) and is taking most everything else with him. We are 7 billion headed toward 10-12 billion by the middle to the end of the century. We may have the planet at a tipping point in global warming which also has disastrous effects on much land and sea animal life.

    We can make the transition with meatless meal choices and meatless days by market pressures for meatless offerings at restaurants, grocery stores, and our own entertainment eating. The wolves and other predators are healthy factors in the wilderness ecology. Game farming for sports killing is not. We have several major species on the brink and hunters and poachers and farmer/ranchers, extraction industries, development and encroachment are still going at the the destruction. What humans are doing is not healthy for us or the planet or the other animals. We instituted agencies like the EPA and ESA and international and national conservation organizations to protect us from ourselves and the by products of seeking monetary gain at all costs then we try to politically undermine and gut those agencies.

    We are a destructive species and cannot seem to help ourselves. The direction we are going is not sustainable. For the health of ourselves, the planet, other life, biodiversity, we need to change the way we eat, killing for sport (aka hunting and trapping), stop human sprawl, preserve habitat, and basically learn to live with wildlife and without killing animals for food via animal farming.

    References:
    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2017/03/19/is-this-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-meat/

    https://www.epa.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-agriculture-and-food-supply

    Climate Change Will Change How We Grow Food
    National Geographic 10/17/2016
    The world’s leading agriculture organization sounds an urgent alarm as temperatures climb and water use is expected to rise. Read the full story
    Climate Change Will Change How We Grow Food
    National Geographic 10/17/2016

    The world’s leading agriculture organization sounds an urgent alarm as temperatures climb and water use is expected to rise. Read the full story

    The world’s leading agriculture organization sounds an urgent alarm as temperatures climb and water use is expected to rise. Read the full stor

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2016/10/11/animal-welfare-on-the-ballot-in-november/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/30/how-meat-is-destroying-the-planet-in-seven-charts/

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/30/how-meat-is-destroying-the-planet-in-seven-charts/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/sign-of-the-times-washington-post-says-meat-is-horrible/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/if-you-eat-meat-2/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/5-reasons-we-cant-afford-to-ignore-the-issue-of-animal-rights-any-longer/

    http://wp.me/p2nX5S-38h wildlife extinction animal farming
    http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/ag-animals-a-better-food-source-than-wild-game/article

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/08/26/more-from-269-the-animal-rights-movement/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/meat-is-for-pussies/

    http://news.sciencemag.org/environment/2015/08/meat-eaters-may-speed-worldwide-species-extinction-study-warns

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/have-a-change-of-heart/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/07/21/patricia-randolphs-madravenspeak-game-farming-must-go-wolf-and-wildlife-conference-told/

    http://www.populationconnection.org/article/population-meat-consumption/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/06/04/we-are-breeding-ourselves-to-extinction/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/eco-groups-push-for-sustainable-diet-guidelines/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/the-human-appetite-for-flesh/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/04/14/the-beef-burden-how-cows-greatly-hurt-the-environment/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/moral-and-esthetic-superiority/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/how-many-wolves-died-for-your-hamburger-2/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/go-vegan-or-die/
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/30/how-much-your-meat-addiction-is-hurting-the-planet/
    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/dont-eat-any-animals-under-any-circumstances/

    https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/patricia-randolphs-madravenspeak-can-we-save-the-animals-and-ourselves/

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886914http://spot.humanerresearch.org/content/why-do-right-wing-adherents-engage-more-animal-exploitation-and-meat-consumption

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/patricia-randolphs-madravenspeak-can-we-save-the-animals-and-ourselves/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/01/31/the-sixth-great-extinction-is-underway-and-were-to-blame/
    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/a-response-to-pro-wolf-article-by-chris-albert/

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/opinion/guest/guest-opinion-wild-horses-urban-deer-roaming-bison-and-dead/article_6c078385-b07b-5219-9e84-53fc18d1a9d5.html#.VKAUS92h4Cs.email

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/12/09/59-billion-farmed-animals-serve-an-insatiable-human-world/

    http://www.animalliberationfront.com › … › Factory Farms › Farming – Index

    “According to NASS reports and expert interviews, 8,792,000,000 “broiler” chickens and 492,700,000 “layer” hens were killed for food in 2000, as well as 304,000,000 turkeys and 26,100,000 ducks, for a total of 9,551,000,000 birds, and is expected to continue to rise.
    Among mammals 41,700,000 cows and calves were killed for food in 2000, as well as 115,200,000 pigs and 4,300,000 sheep, for a total of 161,200,000. These stats are also expected to continue to rise.Thus, the total number of all animals killed for food in 2000 was 9.7 billion.
    In more personal terms, the average American meat-eating man, woman, and child subsidize the abuse and slaughter of over 37 animals per year. It’s much more if they eat sea dwelling animals). That’s 2,800 animals in a 75-year lifetime. This number includes 2,630 chickens and ducks, 123 turkeys, 32 pigs, 13 cows and calves, and 2 sheep. None of these figures include fish, lobster, crab, or other aquatic animals.”

    10,153 million (nearly 10.2 billion) land animals were raised andkilled for food in the United States in 2010, according to data extrapolated from U.S.farmusa.org/statistics11.html Farm Animal Rights Movement
    The Animal Kill Counter << ADAPTT :: Animals Deserve …
    http://www.adaptt.org/killcounter.html

    http://guardianshorts.co.uk/planetcarnivore/#sthash.oURzZciG.dpuf

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/11/25/more-pro-hunt-drivel-locavore-movement-takes-to-deer-hunting-across-us/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/from-a-small-portion-of-the-human-race/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/09/06/how-its-possible-to-love-and-eat-animals/

    c
    http://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/the-will-to-change/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/humane-meat-legitimizes-factory-farming/
    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/peace-for-geese/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/patricia-randolphs-madravenspeak-human-denial-causing-great-dying-on-earth/

    http://exposingthebiggame.word
    http://thoughtsfromthewildside.blogspot.com/2014/03/killing-wolves-hunter-led-war-against.html?m=1

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/did-the-hunters-get-your-wolves-elk/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/patricia-randolphs-madravenspeak-human-denial-causing-great-dying-on-earth/

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/how-many-wolves-died-for-your-hamburger/

    http://thoughtsfromthewildside.blogspot.com/2014/03/killing-wolves-hunter-led-war-against.html?m=1

    https://exposingthebiggame.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/12-egg-facts-the-industry-doesnt-want-you-to-know-free-from-harm/

    http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2014/07/10/montana-sets-wolf-hunting-trapping-season/12482565/

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/fwp-commission-works-out-details-of-landowner-wolf-killing-allowance/article_

    http://missoulian.com/news/local/state-sets—wolf-hunting-trapping-season/article

    http://www.care2.com/causes/were-eating-pangolins-off-the-face-of-the-earth.htm

    http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/columnists/george-ochenski-agencies-rushed-to-judgment-on-protections-for-grayling/article_

    Books References:

    Among Wolves by Gordon Haber and Marybeth Holleman

    In The Temple of Wolves by Rick Lamplugh

    The Wolf Almanac by Robert Busch

    The Hidden Life of Wolves by Jamie and Jim Dutcher

    Exposing the Big Game by Jim Robertson

    Romeo: The Story of an Alaskan Wolf by John Hyde

    The Lives of Red Wolves by T. Delene Beeland

    The Carnivore Way by Christina Eisenberg

    Roger Hewitt
    Great Falls MT
    406-870-0777
    June 11, 2014

    ]Roger Hewitt
    Great Falls MT
    406-870-0777
    June 11, 2014

    Humans kill 27 million land animals daily for consumption, millions more yearly from hunting and"management" and this is not counting the sea life. Humans kill a million sharks every year. Animal farming is one of the most damaging, not to mention cruelest things we do in harming the planet, the environment (land, sea and air); it is also eating up wilderness and forest and jungles. Man is crueler than any alien so far imagined or presented in alien movies. Man is working himself toward extinction by meat and most everything else with him. We may have the planet at a tipping point in global warming which also has disastrous effects on much land and sea animal life. We have several major species on the brink and trophy hunters and poachers and farmer/ranchers are still going at the slaughter. What humans are doing is not healthy for us or the planet or the other anima

  4. I do hope that this succeeds. One thing I know, is that I am going to buy this for the next barbeque party with the family in July. If only I could do it in such a way that they didn’t know it was non-meat meat, then I could prove to them all that they too could become vegetarian without missing anything.

  5. I would love to see the day when ranchers will be frothing and foaming at the mouth like rabid wild dogs, because they can no longer make money from exploiting animals, buy politicians and have government agencies do their bidding and massacre and poison animals for their pleasure. May be that day the worse of them put bullets in their empty skulls and rid the world of their useless wasteful existence.

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