Will meat eaters really switch to alternative proteins?

February 12, 2021 by  
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Will meat eaters really switch to alternative proteins? Jim Giles Fri, 02/12/2021 – 00:05 This analysis originally appeared in the Food Weekly newsletter, which is a year old this week. New readers can sign up here . One thing I’ve been pretty upbeat about over the past year is the emergence of alternative proteins. Prices of lab-grown and plant-based meat are falling just as awareness of the climate impact of livestock is growing. That doesn’t bode well for the meat industry. I’m now wondering if that analysis is a little gung-ho. Two recent developments suggest consumers may be less willing than I’d anticipated to switch to alternative proteins, and a third piece of news confirms governments are typically unwilling to nudge them in that direction. Before I unpack the developments, a quick note on how I think about animal products. I’m not arguing everyone needs to go vegetarian or vegan. But the science is clear on two points: We need to dramatically cut food system emissions; and red meat is responsible for an outsized share of those emissions. So either ranchers figure out how to produce low-carbon beef — and it’s far from certain they can — or we eat less red meat. That latter option, however, turns out to be unpopular. And not just here in the land of the burger, but pretty much everywhere in the world.  Last month, the United Nations Development Program released the results of the Peoples’ Climate Vote , a survey of 1.2 million people from 50 countries. The severity of the climate crisis was widely appreciated — almost two-thirds of respondents described it as an emergency. Some climate solutions, including forest conservation and renewable energy, also were supported by more than half of all respondents. But when people ranked 18 of those solutions, promotion of plant-based diets came out last, with just 30 percent support. The science is clear on 2 points: We need to dramatically cut food system emissions; and red meat is responsible for an outsized share of those emissions. A survey of that size and geographic reach inevitably obscures important regional differences, but a new study of just over 3,200 U.S. consumers also contains sobering news for alternative proteins.  In one part of the study, researchers looked at how price affects consumer preference for a regular burger versus one with a Beyond Meat patty. Knocking $1 off the price of the Beyond burger dented sales of the regular version by just 0.5 percent. Yet the same cut in the price of the animal burger led to an almost 4 percent increase in sales for that product. The take-home is that consumers seem to be more sensitive to prices of animal meat, suggesting that the ongoing fall in prices of plant-based alternatives may have a smaller impact than you would expect. The results do show some consumers switching to plant-based burgers as prices fall, notes Jayson Lusk, an economist at Purdue University and a co-author of the study. But you’re going to get the “biggest bang for the buck,” he added, by changing the price of beef. This isn’t great news for Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and others working to cut the price of plant-based meat. But it does suggest a clear role for governments. Many economists would argue that meat-eaters should pay more for burgers anyway, because the cost of the product does not cover the harm that it causes. Introducing a meat tax therefore would be justified on economic grounds. According to the research, it also would shift people toward plant-based diets. Reports in the British media suggest that last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson was indeed considering levying taxes on meat and cheese . He didn’t mull it over for long. News of the plan was greeted by negative headlines, followed by a hurried assurance from Downing Street that “we will not be imposing a meat tax on the great British banger.” The option is being debated elsewhere in Europe, but can any of you imagine any influential U.S. politician taking a stance different to Johnson’s? Where does this bevy of bad news leave plant-based meats? I’m not sure it will overly concern the strategists at Beyond, Impossible and rivals. I doubt their business plans assume that governments will raise prices of animal meat, at least not in the United States. The challenge for these companies always has been to create a product that beats meat on the three things consumers care most about: convenience; price; and taste. The recent news simply confirms how unlikely it is that governments will assist, and also how hard it will be to persuade meat-eaters to switch to plant-based alternatives. Pull Quote The science is clear on 2 points: We need to dramatically cut food system emissions; and red meat is responsible for an outsized share of those emissions. Topics Food & Agriculture Plant-Protein Featured Column Foodstuff Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A Beyond Meat consumer package, shown in a grocery store meat section. Courtesy of Beyond Meat

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Will meat eaters really switch to alternative proteins?

Game on: New study shows which sports teams have the greenest fans

December 22, 2020 by  
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Game on: New study shows which sports teams have the greenest fans Kristen Fulmer Tue, 12/22/2020 – 01:00 Ever wondered which sports team has the most sustainable fans? From the perspective of a rights holder, this is becoming a critical question. The answers will drive business decisions for venue operations, fan engagement and brand partnership activation. For the green sports movement, the answers may be the key to solidifying the importance of integrating sustainability into sports.  A new report by Recipric, powered by Zoomph’s technology, helps us understand the answer. Recipric , an agency that represents sustainability and positive change within sports, leveraged Zoomph’s Audience Analysis Tool to help answer this question. Together, they co-published Sustainability in Sports , a report that ranks teams from various professional leagues — including baseball, football, basketball and soccer — according to which teams have the most “sustainability-minded” fans. The report also reveals which teams are most likely to have fans that are vegetarian, have an affinity for the outdoors, a particular stance on climate justice, and those most likely to follow Al Gore and Greta Thunberg.  It solidifies that sustainability can be enhanced through the power of sport because of the overlap between sports lovers and people that seek positive change. To reach these rankings, Zoomph’s platform started with about 342 million anonymized profiles. It developed the sustainability-minded audience by capturing a list of terms that someone interested in sustainability may use in their Twitter bio, or by tagging accounts that a climate activist may follow. From there, a segmented audience of more than 500,000 profiles was cross-referenced against Zoomph’s sports analytics platform to understand who this sustainability-minded audience may follow, including sports leagues, teams and brands.  To guide fan engagement strategies and to activate brand partnerships, sports teams often will poll their fan base to gain an understanding of their spending habits, their hobbies or even their passions outside of sports. While this may tell a story about the preferences targeted by a survey, Zoomph unpacks tendencies on social media without explicitly asking questions. This provides raw insights into a particular group of sports fans, but can tap into interests, brand endorsement and even behavioral data in a way that a survey question may not.  While it’s fun to see if assumptions line up with the results of the study, this data can be hugely impactful to the larger sports industry. Teams can look at this data to understand the specific interests of their followers, which can guide on-the-ground community engagement strategies that drive ticket sales or can tell them how to better leverage their brand partners. Brands can use this data to understand which team or even which league may provide the most engaged audience. Even agents could gauge the interests of their represented athletes’ followers to understand the value of a sponsorship deal.  An example from the report highlights U.S. pro sports teams most likely to have vegetarian or vegan followers. The shortlist shows the top five:  Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) New England Patriots (NFL) Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) Golden State Warriors (NBA) Boston Red Sox (MLB) While a casual fan may enjoy making assumptions about the stereotypical tendencies of each of these team’s fans, reasoning the list against demographic trends, or positing about various geographies, this list actually can mean big business for the rights holders and potential brands.  Not surprisingly, the Lakers and Beyond Meat launched an official partnership in 2019, and JaVale McGee, a Laker at the time, was named an official brand ambassador. However, the Lakers can continue to leverage these findings to identify additional vendors for the Staples Center, create a “Plant-Based Day” with incentives to support a local plant-based restaurant, or provide discounted tickets to plant-based fans. With the power of the analytics, a team can drive holistic positive change that engages their fans while taking climate action and improving health and well-being.  This study highlights the importance of sustainability-driven values for rights holders to engage with their fan base and to potentially tap into a larger audience. This drives revenue and is so critical to sustainability professionals charged with creating a data-driven strategy. It solidifies that sustainability can be enhanced through the power of sport because of the overlap between sports lovers and people that seek positive change. Pull Quote It solidifies that sustainability can be enhanced through the power of sport because of the overlap between sports lovers and people that seek positive change. Topics Marketing & Communication Sports Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The Los Angeles Lakers and plant-based products company Beyond Meat launched an official partnership in 2019.

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Game on: New study shows which sports teams have the greenest fans

McDonald’s introduces McPlant, its first plant-based burger

November 12, 2020 by  
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Now that every major fast food chain on the planet seems to have introduced a vegan option, McDonald’s is finally getting with the times. Want to eat at the golden arches without making some animal pay for it? Meet McPlant. “We have created a delicious burger that will be the first menu option in a plant-based platform,” said Ian Borden, president of McDonald’s International. The fast food giant has tested a plant-based burger in Canada and may eventually add faux meat breakfast sandwiches and mock chicken to the menu. Related: What Taco Bell’s menu changes mean for fast food-loving vegans McPlant’s exact composition is elusive. Borden said McPlant is “crafted exclusively for McDonald’s, by McDonald’s ,” according to Fast Company, but the patty was co-created with Beyond Meat. That partnership may or may not be continuing. Can McPlant help turn the tide against an ever-growing global meat demand? The fast food restaurant is, after all, one of the world’s biggest beef buyers. “This represents a significant milestone,” Zach Weston, foodservice and supply chain manager at the Good Food Institute, told Fast Company. “McDonald’s brand is iconic and global, and the scale at which they operate is unsurpassed.” With the vegan burger’s provenance unknown, much of the internet has focused on the new sandwich’s name, and not in a good way. “McPlant” has been called stupid and unoriginal, with many catchier options suggested. But it has advantages. For any vegan who’s ever been terrified their order will be misheard and soon they’ll be chowing down on a pig or cow, the name McPlant will be like a security blanket. “McPlant” sounds nothing like Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets or Snack Wrap, some of the restaurant’s top selling items. But we’ll have to wait until next year to find out how it tastes. McPlant will start popping up on McDonald’s menus in 2021. Via Eater and Fast Company Image via McDonald’s

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Costco is now selling Beyond Burgers in bulk

December 10, 2019 by  
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Those who love the plant-based Beyond Burgers can now rejoice — Costco, a chain of warehouse club stores, is now selling them in bulk at select locations. The roll-out started in Florida, New York and Texas, then followed in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Virginia and more, with eight-patty packs selling for about $15. In most grocery stores, a two-pack of the burgers retails for about $6. What’s in a Beyond Burger? While it looks, cooks, sizzles and somewhat tastes like a beef patty, Beyond Burger sources its proteins from pea, mung bean, fava bean, brown rice and sunflower. One patty contains 20 grams of protein, but it does not contain any cholesterol, a fact that has helped propel Beyond Meat as one of the largest vegan meat producers in the market. Earlier this year, the company became the first vegan meat brand to launch an IPO, catapulting its startup valuation to $3.9 billion. Related: Impossible Burger is now available in grocery stores Projections estimate the global plant-based market to bring in upward of $140 billion over the next decade as more health- and eco-conscious consumers reduce meat from their diets. Global concerns over industrial animal farming’s impact on the environment and climate are similarly shifting consumer choices, since livestock emerged as a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and the correlative burdens to land, water and energy. The popularity of plant-based foods is now compelling some of the leading U.S. meat producers to explore and invest in plant-based protein. For instance, Tyson Foods, once an investor in Beyond Meat, will also debut its own line of meatless products in the next few years to meet changing consumer demands. Then there’s Hormel Foods, which has recently unveiled its “plant-forward” vegan meat line called Happy Little Plants, with a flagship product that is soy-based and gluten-free with no preservatives or cholesterol. Besides the Beyond Burgers from Beyond Meat, Costco likewise stocks vegan meat selections from Nestle’s Awesome Burger and even Don Lee Farms’ organic and gluten-free Better Than Beef burger products. + Beyond Meat Via CNN Images via Beyond Meat

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Costco is now selling Beyond Burgers in bulk

Slippy turns ocean plastic into versatile and endlessly reusable cup sleeves

December 10, 2019 by  
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Anyone who keeps up with news and current events knows that ocean pollution has become a major problem, especially considering the sheer quantity of plastic littering beaches and traveling through the waterways directly into marine wildlife habitats. So, the team at Slippy decided to use some of that plastic sourced from coastal areas to minimize another form of waste — cardboard cup sleeves. What is Slippy? Cardboard might be less harmful to the environment than other products, but it still requires the cutting down of trees, which provide us with clean air. The production process and post-consumer waste of cardboard sleeves could cover the entire state of Texas, so there must be a better, long-term solution for the individual sleeves on billions of coffee cups that are used for just moments and then tossed. Related: Scientists warn we are now entering the plastic age Zach Crain and his team developed Slippy, a cup sleeve that is not just reusable but is also made from recycled ocean plastic . The Slippy team launched the idea on a Kickstarter campaign , which was fully funded by 1,304 backers who pledged $41,664 toward the $10,000 goal. The entire project all started from the knowledge that once it has been produced, plastic never goes away. It takes generations to break down, adding pollutants to the soil along the way. Ocean plastic is even worse, because it ends up hurting marine wildlife. Recent studies even show alarming amounts of plastic inside the animals we rely on as food sources. Enter modern technology that can convert marine plastic into usable fibers. These fibers are typically a mix of ocean plastic combined with post-consumer plastic, and these fibers are now being used for a variety of products across many industries. Slippy took an extra step and is dedicated to creating yarn sourced 100 percent from ocean-bound plastic. That means more plastic removed from the ocean, specifically from beaches or waters within 30 miles of the coastline in areas with poor coastal maintenance systems in place. The Slippy is available in an assortment of finished fabric designs, all of which have a cone shape that fits snugly on a variety of cups, offering a non-slip grip and hand comfort for your morning brew or evening brewsky. Inhabitat’s review of Slippy While gathering more information on Slippy, the team offered to send me a sample for review. Once it arrived, I then ran around my house, slipping it over a variety of beverage vessels to truly put this cup sleeve to the test. Of course, the cone shape slides neatly onto disposable coffee cups, but as an environmentally conscious consumer, I avoid single-use cups wherever possible. The Slippy proved to be ideal for the stainless steel cups I keep in the freezer as well as bottles, cans, pint glasses, water bottles and pretty much every other form of cup I tried. There was a slight slip on cold beer bottles due to the cone shape, but it still worked well at keeping my hands warm and dry while holding the frosty beverage. The Slippy is great for keeping hands from getting too cold or too hot from the surface of cups, but my favorite part of this cup sleeve is that it keeps my drink from creating a puddle of condensation by absorbing the moisture from cold drinks. It’s honestly the best cozy I’ve ever had. They appear to be very durable and endlessly reusable, they grip the surface of cups nicely and they are pleasant to the touch (no squeaky, plastic feel). The Slippy will be a growing part of my gift-giving profile. + Slippy Images via Slippy and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Slippy. All opinions on the products and the company are the author’s own.

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Slippy turns ocean plastic into versatile and endlessly reusable cup sleeves

Taco Bell launches new menu for vegetarians

September 12, 2019 by  
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While in-the-know vegetarians have navigated Taco Bell’s menu for years, the fast food chain is moving plant-based food to the forefront with an official vegetarian section on its menu. The new menu debuts Thursday, Sept. 12 at Taco Bell’s 7,000 U.S. restaurants . Only two of the items in the vegetarian section are new: the Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme and a Black Bean Quesarito. But clearly, marking the items as vegetarian makes ordering a much easier experience for customers who eat a plant-based diet. Related: KFC partners with Beyond Meat for vegan chicken nuggets The Black Bean Quesarito ($2.99) consists of black beans, seasoned rice, chipotle sauce, cheese, nacho cheese sauce and reduced-fat sour cream rolled up in a flour tortilla. Popular upgrades include jalapenos, pico de gallo and guacamole. The Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme ($3.69) adds lettuce and tomato to black beans, nacho cheese sauce and reduced-fat sour cream and serves it in a crispier tortilla. Other vegetarian menu items include three kinds of burritos, a tostada, the veggie power menu bowl, cheesy roll-ups and beans and rice. A green emblem on the new menu signifies that the American Vegetarian Association has certified Taco Bell’s vegetarian food items for people who “are lacto-ovo, allowing consumption of dairy and eggs but not animal byproducts.” But strict vegetarians should beware the fryer. The menu has this disclaimer: “We may use the same frying oil to prepare menu items that could contain meat . Vegetarian and meat ingredients are handled in common, and cross contact may occur, which may not be acceptable to certain types of vegetarian diets.” Taco Bell plans to “further innovate in this growing space,” the restaurant said in a press release. Unlike other fast food restaurants that are embracing imitation meat made by Beyond Meat , Taco Bell is, so far, sticking with less-processed whole foods, like black and pinto beans. Beans are also inexpensive, allowing Taco Bell to sell burritos for as little as one dollar. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has a handy guide on its website for vegans eating at Taco Bell. The magic words “fresco style” mean that instead of cheese and dairy-heavy sauces, you want pico de gallo and guacamole. + Taco Bell Via CNN Image via Taco Bell

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Taco Bell launches new menu for vegetarians

EPA promises an end to animal testing

September 12, 2019 by  
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Animal rights activists are rejoicing this week. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a move to “aggressively reduce animal testing” and to stop funding mammal tests by 2035. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler promised to reduce new mammal tests by 30 percent by 2025 and pledged $4.25 million toward developing non-animal alternatives for testing chemical safety. “Part of why I’m doing this today is because it’s been 30 years and we haven’t made enough progress,” said Wheeler, who wrote an anti- animal testing op-ed for his college paper in 1987. Related: California becomes the first state to ban animal-tested cosmetics However, some people question the federal agency’s motives. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) suggested the decision had more to do with reducing costs for chemical companies required to do expensive animal tests rather than helping animals. “Phasing out foundational scientific testing methods can make it much harder to identify toxic chemicals — and protect human health ,” said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist for the NRDC’s Healthy People and Thriving Communities program. Some scientists worry that mathematical modeling and other non-animal testing approaches won’t effectively replicate the human physiological system. As People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) pointed out in a tweet, “PETA worked with the EPA for decades to prevent rabbits, mice, rats and dogs from having to ingest or inhale toxic chemicals .” The animal rights group is confident that modern alternative models will effectively protect humans, animals and the environment. “PETA will be helping regulatory agencies and companies switch to efficient and effective, non-animal testing approaches and working toward a day when all animal tests are only found in history books,” Amy Clippinger, director of PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department, said in an EPA press release. Many people are disturbed by the pain and cruelty of animal testing, leading to bipartisan efforts to decrease its use. During Obama’s presidency, the Toxic Substances Control Act was amended, calling for the EPA to reduce animal testing. Via EcoWatch Image via Tiburi

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EPA promises an end to animal testing

KFC partners with Beyond Meat for vegan chicken nuggets

August 29, 2019 by  
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KFC and plant based meat creator Beyond Meat recently shook things up in the quick service restaurant industry by whipping up a limited one-off test sampling of its Beyond Fried Chicken for select fans in Atlanta, Georgia on Aug. 27. Lucky KFC restaurant-goers at a Smyrna, Georgia location got to sample the crispy vegan nuggets near Atlanta’s SunTrust Park. Louisiana-based KFC plans to use their feedback to consider future U.S. restaurant testing and a national campaign for the vegan chicken meals. Related: Beyond’s ‘Meatless Marinara’ sub coming to Subway “KFC Beyond Fried Chicken is so delicious, our customers will find it difficult to tell that it’s plant-based,” said KFC U.S. President and CCO Kevin Hochman . “I think we’ve all heard ‘it tastes like chicken’ – well our customers are going to be amazed and say, ‘it tastes like Kentucky Fried Chicken!’” Testers had the option of accompanying the crispy nuggets with flavorful dipping sauces like the chain’s best-selling Finger Lickin’ Good sauce. The sample menu also featured Beyond Meat Fried Chicken boneless wings covered in Nashville Hot, Buffalo or Honey barbecue sauce to tingle taste buds. Beyond Fried Chicken nuggets were priced at six or 12-piece combo meals (including a side and medium drink) for $6.49 and $8.49, or four-piece à la carte at $1.99. Beyond Fried Chicken boneless wings were offered in six or 12-pieces for $6 and $12 (plus tax). “KFC is an iconic part of American culture and a brand that I, like so many consumers, grew up with. To be able to bring Beyond Fried Chicken, in all its KFC-inspired deliciousness to market, speaks to our collective ability to meet the consumer where they are and accompany them on their journey. My only regret is not being able to see the legendary Colonel himself enjoy this important moment,” said Beyond Meat founder and CEO Ethan Brown. According to CNN , Beyond Meat’s stock shares have catapulted from $25 during its IPO debut in May to its current $150 per share. As of Wednesday, Aug. 28, reports indicated the Beyond Fried Chicken test run was successful and sold out in five hours. +KFC Via The Guardian, CNN, Mashable Images via KFC

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Dunkin’ introduces a plant-based sausage breakfast sandwich

July 26, 2019 by  
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Dunkin’ is stretching beyond its donut origins as it introduces a new Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich. The chain restaurant rolled out the new $4.29 menu item at 163 Manhattan locations Wednesday, with plans for national availability in the future. Beyond Meat is producing the sausage exclusively for Dunkin’. But before plant-based customers get too excited, note that while the sausage itself is vegan, the sandwich is not. The patty is topped with American cheese and egg. Dunkin’ CEO Dave Hoffman told CNN Business a fully vegan sandwich might be in the future. “Right now we’re targeting flexitarians ,” he said. Related: Dunkin’ unveils a tiny home powered by recycled coffee grounds Dunkin’s new sandwich is part of a trend of mainstream restaurants luring omnivores with meat substitutes as more studies indicate decreasing meat consumption is better for healthy bodies and a healthy planet. Sales of plant-based foods are up 11 percent in the U.S. this year, according to Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute. Financial giant Barclays predicts the alternative meat sector could account for 10 percent of global meat sales in the next 10 years, reaching $140 billion. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are the two plant-based darlings of the fast food scene, as both create faux meat to be as much like the real thing as possible. Many restaurant chains have partnered with these companies over the last two years, including Little Caesars , Burger King and White Castle . The sudden demand has strained Beyond Meat’s supplies, making the company struggle to expand quickly. “We were surprised in the interest consumers were showing in our products and that it turned on very quickly,” CEO Ethan Brown said. Investors have been quick to embrace the new faux sausage sandwich, pushing the stock value of both Beyond Meat and Dunkin’. + Beyond Meat + Dunkin’ Via CNN and Wall Street Journal Image via Beyond Meat

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Dunkin’ introduces a plant-based sausage breakfast sandwich

It’s ‘impossible’ to ignore the world of alternative proteins

May 23, 2019 by  
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With this month’s landmark initial public offering of alt-protein company Beyond Meat, it’s worth sinking your teeth into the disruptive market.

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