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Ep. 03: The Power of Plant-Protein

Ep. 03: The Power of Plant-Protein

Author: IVM Podcasts

The world agrees we need to eat less meat and eat more plants if we want to save the planet from disastrous climate crises. But that’s easier said than done. In fact, our meat consumption is only set to rise. It was the highest in the U.S. this past year at 100 kilos per capita and by 2030, continents like Africa and Asia Pacific will see tremendous growth in the appetite for protein. But it doesn’t have to come from animal sources. Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods as well as JUST are paving the way for meat made from plants, that taste, smell and even bleed like meat. And in India, companies like Good Dot and Only Great Foods / Supplant are pioneering the plant-based protein space. In this episode of The Power of Plant Protein, we talk to Abhishek Sinha of Good Dot and Chirag Sabunani of Only Great Foods to find out how they are growing the plant-based foods eco-system in India and approaching it from the polar opposite perspectives of an animal lover and a meat eater. ORGANIZATIONS, INSTITUTES AND CELL-BASED MEAT COMPANIES MENTIONED: Impossible Foods : Impossible Foods is an American company headquartered in California that makes plant-based meat substitutes. Made from a blend of soy and potato protein, their meat’s characteristic flavour comes from soy leghemoglobin, which makes their burgers cook, taste, smell and bleed like real beef. Impossible Foods have recently partnered with fast food companies in the US, including Burger King and White Castle, to offer the Impossible Burger to consumers all over the country. In September 2019, they partnered with grocery chains to sell a raw version of their ground beef in select stores in Southern California. Learn more here.  Beyond Meat : Beyond Meat’s mission is to engineer the future of protein by moving beyond traditional and antiquated animal agriculture to create meat made from plants. In doing so, they aim to address climate change, food security, animal welfare and human health. Their plant-based burgers, crumbles and sausages are made primarily from pea protein. After going public in May 2019, Beyond had one of the year’s best IPOs, with a post-IPO surge of over 700 percent. McDonald’s recently started offering a “PLT” plant, lettuce and tomato burger made with Beyond Meat patties in Canada, the first significant step the fast food giant has taken towards offering more plant-based options on its menu. Learn more here and here. JUST : JUST is an American company based in California that makes plant-based mayonnaise and mayonnaise-based salad dressings and eggs, made from yellow split peas and mung beans, respectively. Their products are retailed across the US in grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Walmart. They can also be found on menus in US-based chains Bareburger, Veggie Grill and Silver Diner as well as Canadian chain Tim Horton’s. They recently sold their 10 millionth egg. Learn more here. Good Dot : Good Dot is an Indian company manufacturing plant-based meat products that appeal to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. They use food technology to produce meat that is good for all — the animals, the planet and human health. Their CEO, Abhishek Sinha, a devoted animal lover, was a former Deputy Commissioner of Income tax before he quit to oversee Good Dot’s RD and manufacturing. Their products include Veg Bytz, Proteiz and Proteiz Plus. They recently rolled out their QSR initiative called GoodDo in major cities across India. Learn more here. Only Great Foods: Only Great Foods is a research, development and manufacturing firm that develops ingredients for gluten-free bakery with its primary customers in the US and Canada. Given Chirag Sabunanis passion to feed the world in better ways, and the movement of RD heads from gluten-free towards plant-based companies over the last year, Only Great Foods launched a sister entity, Supplant Foods, with a focus on developing and producing vegan ingredients for the ready-snacks and plant-based sector. The new firm has a range of hydrocolloids specifically designed for the plant-based industry, is now starting production of its patent-pending flavorless and functional chickpea flour, and is in the final stages of developing flavorless functional proteins from inexpensive and abundant feedstocks. The goal: supply these ingredients to plant-based companies in the West and help them improve quality while lowering costs AND eventually develop a range of plant-based eggs, dairy and meat for us in India   SCIENTIFIC DEFINITIONS: Plant- based meat: Plant-based food refers to meat, eggs and dairy made from plants. They use a bio-mimicry approach to replicate the taste and texture of meat while some plant-forward products like seitan, tofu and tempeh, serve as functional meat replacements. Although not biologically classified as plants, fungi and algae based products are also included in plant-based foods. Hydrocolloids: A hydrocolloid is any substance that forms a gel in the presence of water. In food, hydrocolloids are functional carbohydrates used in foods to enhance their shelf-life and quality. These additives are used to modify the viscosity and texture of food products like ice cream, salad dressings, gravies, processed meats, and beverages. Some examples of hydrocolloids used in food include xanthan gum, gum arabic and agar. Learn more here. ADDITIONAL READING AND RESOURCES: Think fake burgers are just for vegetarians? 95 of Impossible’s customers are meat-eaters. Read more here. Watch Bruce Friedrich, Executive Director of The Good Food Institute, throw away eight plates of pasta to explain how market forces and food technology will save the world here. If you’d like to learn more about what consumers think of plant-based and cultured meat — including how open they are to trying them — check out this report by Frontiers Journal here. Still not convinced plant-based meat tastes like the real thing? Here’s an article by two beef farmers on how realistic Burger King’s Impossible Whopper really is. Want to learn more about the rapidly evolving plant-based and cultured meat industries? Check out the Good Food Institutes State of the Industry reports here.

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