by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Meat substitutes

Apr 8 2021

Plant-based: an attempt to keep up

Information pours out about plant-based meat and dairy substitutes.  Here are some recent items, pro and con:

Mar 22 2021

Annals of marketing: walnuts as plant-based meats

The California Walnut Commission, ever on the job, has a new white paper out on using walnuts as ingredients in plant-based meat substitutes.

The paper rightly points out that the most popular plant-based meats are full of artificial ingredients (they don’t use the word “ultra-processed).

The public wants “clean.”

The sweet spot for manufacturers is in creating great-tasting plant-based products while maintaining clean labels. Walnuts are a popular tree nut and the ideal ingredient for many uses in plant-based meat alternatives. Want to mimic meat in taco crumbles or provide a savory taste and exceptional texture to a plant-based burger? Use walnuts.

Apparently, such products are on the market already (the white paper gives examples).

My question, as always, how do they taste?

I will look for them and find out.  With luck, they will taste like walnuts.

Expect trade associations for every kind of nut to get on this bandwagon, if they haven’t already done so.

 

 

Feb 24 2021

Fungal protein, veganism, and venture capital

I don’t usually pay attention to press releases for food products but this one caught my eye.

Just announced, Nature’s Fynd, the buzzworthy food-tech company growing a nutritional fungi protein named Fy™ that recently raised over $150M in equity and debt financing, opened preorders for a limited release for its Fy Breakfast Bundle…Nature’s Fynd is solving a massive agricultural (and business) need.

The business need I get.  As one of my readers, Kristin Ohlson pointed out, this is an example of “veganism meets venture capital.”

The agricultural need?

Their breakthrough fermentation technology only requires only a fraction of the water, land, and energy of traditional protein sources. And thanks to the natural resilience and efficiency of Fy’s base organism, they make Fy emitting 99% less greenhouse gases, and using 99% less land and 87% less water than processing beef. Plus, the products are incredibly tasty and Fy is good for your body—containing all nine essential amino acids and fiber, with no cholesterol or trans fats. It’s also vegan and certified non-GMO.

Does this remind anyone of Quorn, which the Center for Science in the Public Interest has been complaining about for years?

Despite what some of the manufacturer’s marketing materials indicated, the fungus used in Quorn is only distantly related to mushrooms, truffles, or morels. While all are members of the fungus kingdom, Quorn is made from a less appetizing fungus (or mold) called Fusarium venenatum (venenatum is the Latin word for venomous).

Fy protein comes from Fusar­i­um  flavolapis, which they got out of some Yellowstone hot spring (with permission).

I hope they have done some allergy testing.

I’d like to see the ingredient lists for some of these products.

For the moment, I’ll stick with food.

Feb 16 2021

Cell-based meats: an skeptical update

Cell-based meat substitutes are not yet on the market in the United States, but they are of great interest, and here’s why.

Singapore has approved them:  Eat Just, Inc., a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology to create healthier, more sustainable foods, today announced that, after a rigorous consultation and review process, its cultured chicken has been approved for sale in Singapore as an ingredient in chicken bites.

A Singapore restaurant is serving cell-based chicken nuggets At the debut, the restaurant served cultured chicken from the brand GOOD Meat, affiliated with Eat Just, a sustainable food startup based in the U.S. The event followed the regulatory approval of the product by Singapore…“I’m speechless,” an 11-year-old patron of the restaurant said in a press release. “It will save a lot of animals’ lives and it will be a lot more sustainable … It feels good to have chicken without feeling guilty.”  [Comment: Do we really need cell-based chicken nuggets?]

There is a lot of money riding on these products: A company in Israel has gotten the price down to $7.50 per “chicken breast,” and just got nearly $27 million in funding.  [Prices are going to have to go down a lot further before anyone other than the rich will buy them]

Another Isreali company is producing 3-D printed steaks: Aleph Farms, based in Israel, unveiled the first 3-D-printed ribeye steak, using a culture of live animal tissue and “broadening the scope of alt-meat in what is expected to be a rich area of expansion for food companies.”  This used “a culture of live animal tissue, in what could be a leap forward for lab-grown meat once it receives regulatory approval.”  [Do we need 3-D printed food?]  

The meat may be fake, but the proIfits are real

If this sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Indeed, as this article maintains, “There’s a giant, undiscussed, confounding party at the table: the world’s richest investors, and the delicious returns they expect for saving the world.”

Meat imitation technologies can deliver staggering profits and act as a lever to transition from a destructive animal diet—but we must recognize that those two potentialities are necessarily in conflict….When the chips are down, fiduciary obligations will always privilege profit over the moral aspirations of these patent-clutching geniuses. In its present composition, the new-meat dream will let us down. Its affinity for and resemblance to agribusiness will ultimately prolong the hegemony of animal slaughter, not challenge it.

Dec 10 2020

Some odd items, just for fun

I’ve been collecting intriguing items about new foods and supplements, soon to be at a supermarket near you.

Nov 5 2020

The latest on cell-based meat

USDA to launch rulemaking process for labeling of cell-cultured meat; ‘success will turn, in large measure, on the nomenclature used,’ says attorney: How should meat grown from cultured animal cells be labeled? In a joint FDA/USDA webinar, officials said they would work together to come up with joint principles to govern the labeling of products under their respective jurisdictions (FDA: seafood; USDA: livestock & poultry) before launching a rulemaking and comment process, although no firm timetable has yet been established…. Read more.

  • You can watch a video about regulation of these products here.
  • The joint framework for regulation is here.

FoodNavigator-USA.com has been collecting items on cell-based meats.  I’ve selected a few of interest.  For others, click here.

Oct 8 2020

An update on plant-based proteins

Plant-based is big business.  Want to find out just how big?

One week to go: FREE plant-based meat webinar with Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, Meati Foods, Planterra Foods, GFI: Where is the plant-based meat category heading, and how reliable are some of the predictions out there about how much this market could be worth over the next 10-15 years?… Read more

Two food business newsletters featured these products recently.  Here are a few selections (for the complete lcollections, click on the heading links).

FoodNavigator-USA’s Special Edition: Plant-based protein trends

From pea, soy and wheat to canola, which plant-based proteins have the potential to move from niche to the mainstream, and what factors are motivating purchasing decisions, from price and consistency of supply, to amino acid profiles, taste, functionality, sustainability credentials, to non-GMO claims? Where is the plant-based meat category heading next and how are the dynamics of the plant-based milk segment changing?

Special Edition: Plant-based innovation in APAC  [Asia-Pacific region]

The meat substitute market in APAC is expected to reach US$17.1bn in 2020, from US$15.3bn last year according to Euromonitor International. The ongoing pandemic is set to accelerate this growth alongside health, safety and environmental factors from consumers. In this special edition, we bring you the firms developing plant-based meat, egg and beverages, all this to meet APAC’s soaring protein needs.

Sep 3 2020

Where are we on cell-based meat alternatives?

Let’s catch up on what’s happening with cell-based meat, so far still in development, regulated jointly by FDA (pre-harvest) and USDA (post-harvest), but not yet approved for human consumption.

I think I can wait.