Sustainable Foods Made Better With Science

SreejanNiyogi By SreejanNiyogi, 8th Mar 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>News>Science

One of the biggest threats to a sustainable lifestyle, say vegetarians and vegans, is animal protein. Read this article on how Sustainable Foods Made Better With Science

Sustainable Foods Made Better With Science

Humans are becoming more cognizant of the impact their activities and decisions are having on the world in which they live. This growing awareness is affecting how people pursue leisure activities, how they power their devices, and how they eat their meals. The buzzword of the day is sustainability. It represents a new philosophy that seeks to put tasty alternatives on plates — new options that will reduce land and water use without diminishing flavor and enjoyment.
One of the biggest threats to a sustainable lifestyle, say vegetarians and vegans, is animal protein. The amount of protein that every individual needs varies. Even with a focus on improving the meat and dairy production processes to be more efficient and less impactful on the ecosystem, livestock production is inherently unsustainable, according to advocates of low- and no-meat dietary lifestyles. The answer, they claim, is to switch as much nutrition from animal to vegetable sources as possible.

Plants to the Rescue

Relative to meat, vegetables require less land and water to feed the same amount of people. Animals raised for food also typically derive nearly all their sustenance from plants, making livestock even more costly because land must be used to grow vegetation that will not directly feed anyone. In addition, extra water must be used as it will be required first to grow the plants the animals eat, then again to sustain the animals themselves. Thus is seems clear that switching to eating mostly vegetables is not only wise, but perfectly doable. However, there remains a significant inherent problem: how to find adequate substitutes for animal proteins.

Fortunately, plant proteins that could replace the nutrition of animal sources are available in nature, though some extra work is almost always necessary to put them into combinations that supply all of the essential amino acids. The real stumbling block to creating viable alternatives to animal products is replicating the mixing, cooking, and storage properties of animal proteins with plant-based materials.

A More Regimented Approach

In the past, attempts to find palatable substitutes for meat in the vegetable kingdom were mostly limited to using historical alternatives (tofu, for example) and anecdotal wisdom to produce products with varying similarity to meat and acceptability as replacements. Modern approaches are promising to develop options more reliably similar to meat to appeal to those who want to contribute to sustainability without compromising their simple enjoyment of food. Companies such as Hampton Creek Foods have stepped into this new frontier in which science and culinary art join hands to spearhead the pursuit of plant-based substitutes that taste, feel, and cook like their animal-based counterparts. It made use of sound principles of research, testing, and analysis to solve the problems of sustainable, plant-based foods that everyone from vegans to carnivores could enjoy and intuitively incorporate into their diets. The idea of rooting their efforts in the Scientific Method attracted a steady stream of investor interest, beginning with Khosla Ventures and growing to include such heavyweights as Microsoft founder, Bill Gates.

Tasty Research and Development

The science-oriented approach bore fruit beginning with the introduction of an egg substitute called Beyond Eggs. The product, made from ingredients including canola oil, sunflower lecithin, peas, and tree sap, was met with a mostly positive reception. Over the next few years, the company followed with a mayonnaise replacement dubbed Just Mayo and a cookie batter alternative called Just
Cookie Dough. Both products are made without eggs.
Just Mayo uses the Canadian yellow field pea to replace egg protein. Just Cookie Dough primarily substitutes sorghum. The company was able to identify the best plant sources and optimal blends to use to make these alternative options appropriate as replacements for their traditional counterparts in the same kinds of uses. Just Mayo spreads like real mayonnaise. Just Cookie Dough is scooped, baked, and stored like traditional cookie dough.

Making Deals

By using science to reliably produce sustainable foods with broad appeal, such organizations have also been able to find eager partners in the retail space. Grocers have been attempting to meet the growing demand for products that would meet the needs of their customers who want to feel good about what they eat.

Sustainability Is Good for Business

People will always need to eat and the changing attitudes about the impact of producing sustenance show no signs of becoming less focused on sustainability. By targeting these necessities with a measured, science-based methodology, investor capital has grown rapidly over a short time. Its essential reliance on data and repeatable results means it will continue to develop attractive products that will fuel its expansion and cement its place as a dominant force in sustainable, eco-friendly food.


Food, Science

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author avatar SreejanNiyogi
I write on a several niches ranging from Health to Finance and Politics.

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