How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

November 9, 2020 by  
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How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets Holly Secon Mon, 11/09/2020 – 01:00 By 2050, nearly 10 billion people will be on the planet. That’s about 2 billion more hungry mouths to feed. Figuring out the best way to feed everyone so they receive enough nutritious food, while using the planet’s finite resources sustainably, is a growing challenge. Typically, as people’s incomes rise throughout the developing world, they consume more resource-intensive animal-based protein, as opposed to unrefined grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. An alternative to that consumption could exist. Alternative proteins, that is. Alternative proteins, which have gained more mainstream attention in U.S. supermarkets and direct-to-consumer models during the COVID-19 pandemic, include both plant-based or food-technology (so-called “clean meat”) alternatives to animal protein. The alternatives replicate the look, mouthfeel and taste of meat, but have a lower sustainability impact, advocates claim.  At GreenBiz Group’s virtual clean economy conference VERGE 20 late last month, representatives from two of the biggest alternative protein companies, plant-based Impossible Foods and cell-based Memphis Meats, discussed the ways in which alternative proteins could do just that. From providing a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while making sure consumers eat nutritious food, alternative proteins could make an impact.  Alternative proteins could provide a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while serving consumers nutritious food. Each company has its own theory of change for full-scale market transformation. Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown is on the record saying that by 2035, he wants to eliminate the need for animal farming in and of itself. Meanwhile, Steve Myrick, vice president of operations at Memphis Meats, who spoke at VERGE 20, wants to “augment, not disrupt” the mix of food production methods in the next five to 10 years. Impossible Burger wants to eliminate the need for animal agriculture Impossible Foods has been one of the most hyped-up alternative protein companies, and one of the most successful. Impossible makes a plant-based burger designed to maintain a realistic taste and mouthfeel to beef, primarily using a soy-based version of the protein found in meat called “heme” plus oils and other ingredients. The company also offers plant-based pork and sausages. The products are sold in higher-end restaurants around the world, and recently entered grocery stores as well. Rebekah Moses, head of impact strategy at Impossible Foods, said during VERGE 20 that the key to Impossible Foods’ goal of replacing animal agriculture is “exponential growth.” “What we’re trying to do here even at our relatively small scale is figure out how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change,” she explained. What we’re trying figure out is how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change. “So knowing that livestock product consumption is driving climate change by occupying huge amounts of land that would otherwise be capturing carbon … we need to address the system,” she said. “It can’t scale anymore. It’s already scaled to a point where we’re seeing huge problems for climate change and ecosystem services reductions.” Moses believes that Impossible Foods can still scale, and that it can take away market share from traditional animal agriculture to alleviate these issues. “It’s a lofty goal, but it’s exponential scaling,” she said. “We want to double or triple in size every year … The inherent economies of scale of plant-based meat are vastly superior to that of the livestock system — an incredibly environmentally destructive technology because of the amount of inputs required to sustain it.” At scale, Impossible is able to use 96 percent less land, emit 89 percent fewer greenhouse gases and use 87 percent less water, Moses claimed. “It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people,” she added. It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people. In addition, she pointed out that Impossible burgers can have slightly different ingredient compositions, making the product resilient to certain commodity shortages and logistical shipping backups. “Plant-based beef can be far more agile because we don’t really have to use the same ingredients all the time,” she said. “So now we use what we have, but there’s nothing saying we can’t use tahil or fava beans or any of a rich array of inputs that are out there. “You have to have binding proteins, you have to have high quality bulk to provide this chew-down, you have to have oils to provide this fat source, but ultimately you can get that from any number of different ingredients. Globally there’s such a diverse array of crop production that is going to provide things like proteins, fats and oils that what the Impossible burger is made of in the United States might be completely different than what it’s manufactured in other parts of the world with other supply chains, especially small local supply chains.” Memphis Meats wants to be a part of the large ‘food production’ tent Memphis Meats is at an even earlier stage of scaling than Impossible Foods, but the company also has generated a good amount of buzz. The company is piloting a new process of producing animal meat, without the animal. In a lab, scientists select specific types of animal cells that could become meat and put them in a cultivating tank, where they undergo a process similar to fermentation to grow muscle and tissue. The company hasn’t reached commercial scale yet, but has received cash infusions from investors including Bill Gates and Richard Branson, as well as industry giants such as Tyson Foods and Cargill. Myrick explained Memphis Meats’ value proposition: “The food system is almost more vast than any of us can really grasp … the world consumes hundreds of billions of pounds of meat and seafood a year. So five to 10 years from now, we think of it as augment, not disrupt. “We’ll still need a lot of different food production methods to keep feeding 8 billion people in that timeline. You can’t do it without large-scale intensive animal agriculture, small-scale subsistence farming, animal husbandry — we think cell-based meat will be a part of that picture, very quickly a bigger part. But I think what it means for us is that we have this philosophy of a big tent. We want to partner with existing industry, coexist, respect consumer traditions.”  Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. For now, the company is working on making the product the best it can be, while also considering how to scale to be a meaningful part of food production, according to Myrick. The question for the future is whether Memphis Meats wants to do manufacturing in-house and begin building out that capacity or find a manufacturing partner. “We feel really confident in our path, both to reduce the complexity and the cost of our inputs and also to build out our production system that’s at a scale where the cost makes sense to measure for unit economics that consumers will get,” he said. Once the product is established, in the future, Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. “It’s very much a goal to have our product have the identity of conventional meat products,” he said. “It’s very important from a chemistry point of view, from a nutritional point of view, to be within the frame of reference. We think of that as step one, to exceed the expectations of meat-eaters based on their current expectations. But we’re very excited about the next chapter to ideally start to adapt the nutrition profile and hopefully bring products to the consumers that have significant nutritional benefits over that.” Pull Quote Alternative proteins could provide a buffer for supply chain shocks and price volatility that hit early during the pandemic while serving consumers nutritious food. It’s just a question of efficiency and how you’re using resources and frankly, animal metabolisms are not going to work for a population of 10 billion people. Myrick sees the potential to increase the nutrition profile of cell-based meats through chemistry. What we’re trying figure out is how to tap into consumer behavior without asking consumers to change. Topics Food & Agriculture Food Systems VERGE 20 Alternative Protein Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A plant-based Impossible Whopper from Burger King. Flickr Tony Webster Close Authorship

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How alt-protein companies Impossible Foods, Memphis Meats hope to reshape diets

Mountain Heroes cyclist aims for world record to fight climate change

August 6, 2018 by  
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Michael Strasser, famous cyclist and the first cyclist to join the  UN Environment’s  Mountain Heroes campaign, has now been cycling for nearly two weeks. His goal? Establishing a new world record by cycling from Alaska to Patagonia through the longest overland route. But the 14,300-mile and nearly 610,000-vertical-foot  Ice2Ice expedition is not just about immense feats of strength and stamina. Strasser also seeks to demonstrate how personal transportation choices can mitigate climate change. Originally an architect, Strasser began his expedition on July 23. The Austrian cyclist is now crossing Canada and has been updating followers and contributors on his journey in real time. His candid memos are paired with a live tracking map that includes the time spent cycling as well as distance and elevation details. He wrote, “Yesterday, for example, that damned smoke was back in the morning for the first two hours,” referring to a forest fire that had broken out close to his trail. “And then, while I was still angry about the very rough roads, a little black bear appeared on the side of the road and put a smile on my lips.” The cyclist hopes to inspire action in order to protect mountain ecosystems , which provide freshwater around the world and are home to a diverse array of plants and animals. Related: Former businessman bicycles down the Thames River to stop plastic pollution A rise in pollution and the impacts of climate change have put stress on these delicate mountain ecosystems. The glaciers through which Strasser is traveling have been reduced by nearly a third since the 1960s, displaying a visible amount of loss in ice and snow cover. Along with the fragile biological diversity in these areas, the retreating glaciers serve as one of the Earth’s most reliable sources of fresh drinking water. Climate change is disproportionately affecting these mountainous regions, along with high elevation zones such as the Arctic and Antarctica. “It would mean a lot to me if I could motivate every single person who follows me to sometimes take a bike instead of their car,” Strasser said. “If my attempt is to bike 23,000 kilometers and 185,000 vertical meters, then everyone can manage one or the other kilometer in their daily life too. I think if all of us contribute something even small, something big can come of it.” + Ice2Ice + UN Environment Images via Michael Strasser

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Mountain Heroes cyclist aims for world record to fight climate change

Abandoned 400-year-old Greek ruins transformed with brilliant bursts of color

August 6, 2018 by  
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Artists Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic of the multidisciplinary German design practice Quintessenz have transformed ancient stone ruins in Kagkatika, Greece into a spectacular work of art that straddles the line between the analog and digital worlds. Commissioned by the Paxos Contemporary Art Project , Quintessenz crafted a large-scale art installation using 120 mesh layers of varying colors. Dubbed Kagkatikas Secret, the colorful artwork flutters in the wind, creating an extra dimension to the surreal piece. Kagkatikas Secret stands in striking contrast to its centuries-old stone backdrop. The mesh panels, strung up with thin wires, were spray painted a variety of colors and then cut into differing sizes. The panels were hung in order of their size—the largest were placed at the rear near the stone windows that frame views of the sea—to create the illusion of depth. This installation builds on Quintessenz’s signature style, which derives inspiration from graffiti culture, graphic design and chromatics. “The work unfolds in an approximately 400-year-old ruin and forms a unique contrast,” explains Quintessenz in a project statement. “It is detached from the usual city bustle and is not in competition with glaring lights or obtrusive advertising. The wind and the sunlight make the installation appear like a digital body in the real world. It forms the interface between analog and digital, between today and then and between old and new. The great contrast makes the installation look almost unreal, as soon as the wind settles in the layers and the sunlight underlines the colors even more, it seems as if there is only one place for this installation. This, in turn, the contrast fits in and creates exciting synergies.” Related: Nendo Unveils Collection of Sculptural Objects Made From Japanese Farming Nets Quintessenz was selected along with seven other artists for the inaugural Paxos Contemporary Art Project, a site-specific artist initiative on the Ionian island of Paxos. + Quintessenz Images via Quintessenz

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Abandoned 400-year-old Greek ruins transformed with brilliant bursts of color

Revving up sustainable transportation with research alliances

March 8, 2012 by  
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Creating sustainable transportation networks requires a holistic approach. Public-private research partnerships provide a chance to bring together a diverse array of experts to tackle the problem.

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Revving up sustainable transportation with research alliances

Tars Sands Pipeline Protest Rocks White House (PHOTOS)

August 23, 2011 by  
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For a full-sized photo, check out the Tar Sands Action Flickr page It’s now well into the fourth day of peaceful protest of the outside the White House , where a diverse array of concerned citizens are risking arrest to send the Obama administration a simple message: Do not approve the Keystone XL, a 1,700 mile pipeline that would inextricably link the nation’s energy future to Canada’s tar sands — the dirties… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Tars Sands Pipeline Protest Rocks White House (PHOTOS)

Big-Brand Clothing Found Laced with Toxic Chemicals

August 23, 2011 by  
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Image: Kick Photo via flickr Samples of clothing from 14 of the most popular brands in the U.S., including Adidas, Uniqlo, Calvin Klein, H&M, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lacoste, Converse and Ralph Lauren, have tested positive for toxic chemicals known as nonylphenol ethoxylates , according to a recent report by Greenpeace. NPEs are harmful to the environment and to human health—and the effects are not limited to where the clothes are manufactured. “Since residual levels of NPEs are released when clot… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Big-Brand Clothing Found Laced with Toxic Chemicals

Capital Bikeshare = Great Success! (Video)

August 23, 2011 by  
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114 Stations and 1,100 Bikes in Washington DC DC’s Capital Bikeshare is one more example of what we’ve been saying for years: Bike sharing rocks! Since its launch in 2008 , it has grown up quite a bit , from a modest start to being the biggest bike-sharing program in the country. It’s now a popular, green, heal… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Capital Bikeshare = Great Success! (Video)

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