Lets change the way we eat or we will destroy the planet. We need to act now and food tech could be a large part of the solution for a better planet. Food innovation has already found ways to replace meat and eggs with plants and also insects.
Animal agriculture and livestock is the biggest environmental problem we have!
Not all of us are aware on how bad the situation is for our planet, and even if you are aware, you might not know that the biggest problem is that we eat too much meat and eggs. This is a bigger problem then all the transportation and CO2 emissions that everyone is talking about. We need to decrease the amount of food from animal significantly, that is a fact and all researchers and studies agree. The numbers wary in studies and research, but between 10%-35% of total global emissions (GHG) is what most studies say can be traced to meat agriculture, of those 80% is from livestock. It is not CO2 that is the gas in this sector, it is CH4 (methane) and N2O (nitrous oxide). .
This is not meant as a doomsday post, rather the opposite. Naturally there are companies and entrepreneurs that have realised this and started to find solutions to this problem.
We need to eat differently
Few of us want to give up eating hamburgers, a nice steak, baking bread etc. Since I have a hard time seeing all of us becoming vegans, we need to find other ways, and we need to act now!
What we need to do is to find replacement for meat and eggs. Not only replace the taste, but also the ingredients, since they are important for our well being. Mainly it is about replacing protein. 92% of the plants on our planet has not yet been analysed, we are now starting to find out that we actually can do some really cool things with plants (see below), but also many insects have significantly less impact on the environment, so crickets are starting to be a trendy bug to eat.
80% of the worlds population already eat insects, but it does not happen that frequently in the western world, maybe we should change that. One of the worlds best restaurants actually have crickets on their menu. The Copenhagen, well awarded, restaurant Noma, serves pancakes with fermented crickets.
When we visited our Thai friends near the Laos border, the family had their own crickets farm so obviously we had to taste. I was about to post a photo of me eating, but it is not in favour of the post to give you a hint. Below are two pictures from that trip, the first one is how it was served (just fried in a pan with some spices and herbs) and the second one is from the cricket farm.
How to replace eggs?
Hampton Creek is a San Francisco based company that create products like cookie dough and mayonnaise to be able to replace eggs, more products will come over time. their products are sold on Whole Foods and others. Hampton Creek have made it possible to get bread to grow while in the oven and make omeletts tasty as well as great mouth feel. Pretty amazing. The below TEDx talk by the Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick, is not a product presentation but rather about how bad the chicken industry is, well worth a watch.
How to replace meat?
Several companies have produced meat replacement products. Some do it based on plants, which naturally is the best, others do it by using real meat cells.
Memphis Meats does it with meat cells, but I am more in favour of making it from plants. That is what Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods does. In the below Beyond Meat video they explain how they do it.
Naturally we want to continue to have our burgers etc and the top picture is how a burger from Impossible Foods looks like (photo credit to Impossible Foods).
Above examples on how to replace meat and eggs are solved by innovation and research of plants (except Memphis Meat), but we also have other areas that provide a much lower environmental footprint even given that they are living things, that is insects and especially crickets. This is nothing new, we have been eating insects since the very beginning of time I assume, but lately we have been to posh for it in the western world. Well, now is a good time to change that. One way to apply insects is to create a protein flour from crickets. This what Bitty Foods does. the CEO Megan Miller also held a TEDx talk, this one in Manhattan, where she describes why and what they do.
A piece of honesty
I consider myself a fairly average individual with a decent intellect and I am also fairly involved and interested in trying to contribute to protecting our planet and keeping it safe for the generations to come. With that said, I admit that I, up until recently, had no clue to what extent the animal agriculture and livestock impacted our planet. Since then I have gained an interest and trying to decide what I, as an individual, can do. This both how I eat as an individual / family but also how I might be able to contribute in a bigger way.
If it was new to me, it is most certainly new to many others as well.