Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods: Champions of the Earth
By BEL JACOBS
We need to eat less meat - 90 per cent less, to be exact. The greenhouse gases, deforestation and pollution from current farming systems are already destroying the planet and it looks set to get worse, as the world population rises by 2.3 billion by 2050. Last month, producers of revolutionary plant-based meats, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, jointly won the 2018 Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest accolade for the environment in recognition of their sterling work finding alternatives to meat.
Saving the planet must be a collaborative effort. Accordingly, the two U.S. based companies put aside competitive differences and came together to receive their awards at the annual Champions of the Earth ceremony. Their achievements send a message to world: change the way we make our food.
The processes employed by these new Champions aim to show that ecologically conscious decisions don’t have to mean sacrificing quality, convenience - or taste, that subjective quality that make carnivorous consumers battle so hard for their right to consume other living beings..
"Four things kept coming back to me: human health, climate change, natural resource, and animal welfare implications of using animals for meat," Ethan Brown, Founder and CEO of Beyond Meat told plantbasednews.org. "And what fascinated me is that you can simultaneously tackle all these concerns by simply changing the protein source for meat from animals to plants. If we shift our thinking to focus on the composition of meat versus its animal origin, we have a huge canvas to work from."
Meat is made up of amino acids, water, lipids, trace minerals and water. Animals use their digestive and muscular systems to convert vegetation and water into meat. “We go straight to the plant, bypassing the animal, building meat directly, with the added benefit of being more sustainable,” Brown said. “We get better every year and are on a relentless march toward that perfect and indistinguishable build of meat from plants.”
Working with top scientists, both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods extract the core components of meat from plants, using ingredients like peas, beetroot, coconut oil and potato starch. Started in 2009, Beyond Meat created a cutting-edge burger made from peas, potatoes, beet juice and coconut oil, without gluten, soy or GMOs. It launched to sell-out demand in 2016 and is now available in thousands of outlets.
Impossible Foods was founded in 2011, launching the Impossible Burger five years later. The burger contains wheat, coconut oil, and potatoes. A key ingredient called heme, an iron-rich compound produced from yeast that gives meat its taste and helps give blood its color, holds meat’s signature iron aftertaste and causes the burger to appear to “bleed” .
"The greenhouse gas footprint of animal agriculture rivals that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined. There is no pathway to achieve the Paris climate objectives without a massive decrease in the scale of animal agriculture [sic]," said the UN in a statement.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that big global problems are not someone else’s responsibility,” said Dr. Patrick O. Brown, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Impossible Foods. “This problem wasn’t going to be solved by pleading with consumers to eat beans and tofu instead of meat and fish. And it wouldn’t be enough just to find a better way to make meat; to succeed we would need to make the best meat in the world.”