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Food engineering soaring heights – Making meat out of plant
Making meat out of plant
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Food engineering soaring heights – Making meat out of plant

by Ramisha MesiyaMay 2, 2017

Global warming has been the major issue among the major developed countries since mid-20th century and now that with 21st century’s arrival, no proper solution or a pact has been reached to counter the fact that the Earth’s surface temperature is likely to rise 2-4oC with the rate of greenhouse gas emissions increasing. Greenhouse gases majorly comprises of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, and it will not be wrong to say that humans have led to more emission of GH gases. Most people will not believe it, but it is a fact that animal agriculture is accountable for 18% emission of GH gases, which is actually more than from the transportation combined.

How animal agriculture contributes towards the emissions? Well, firstly it is deforestation done so, in order to stretch the arable land enough to grow crops that contributes to an increase in carbon dioxide, the cows obviously farts and yes that causes the release of methane and finally the manure itself that is use for fertilizing the land is responsible for nitrous oxide so all in all, it is the cows causing the problem. Though, animal agriculture has been able to provide the human population with the food that we need, but let us not ignore the fact that the population is growing.

According to the US Census Bureau, the lower limit of the world population is around 7 billion, and that was in the year 2011, and now when we stand in the year of 2017, 7.5 mark has been reached and sooner it will be 8 billion so these figures all over do not look good for us. Thus it leads to animal agriculture again, but then again it is one of the leading causes of GHG emissions and it is predicted that by the year 2050, the emissions will increase by 80%, how frightening is that? Now it will be unjust to say that nothing so far has been done to recognize this problem or any panacea been reached. Some of the scientists, entrepreneurs are coming out with some mind boggling ideas that will surely leave you mesmerized. The idea is simple and that is to create a better substitute (plant) than animal that will still make the meat edible enough and keeping all its flavors intact because after all, the taste buds can’t be changed once they have been established. So let us see, what the big brains have come up with in their labs to completely fool us. Here you go:

1. EXOPROTEIN

Two young lads Gabi Lewis and Greg Sewitz from Brown University decided to make protein bars and launch a company by the name of Exo now it was something not new, considering the fitness hype these days, most of the people are gobbling it. But they took the protein bars at a newer level, baking live crickets in the oven enough to easily ground them to a fine powder, they produced the protein bars out of crickets. Sewitz learned about the insects having enough calcium, protein and iron to be actually replaced with animal meat.

Now, although it sounds icky but the fact remains that insects specially crickets produce 100 times less greenhouse gases than cows, they don’t need that much amount of water thus proving to be eco-friendly and are also providing you with essential amino acids needed by the body. The idea was not bad except the part where you are eating crickets, it is available in different flavors like cacao nut, peanut butter and jelly, apple cinnamon and blueberry vanilla for just 3$. The two lads are now eyeing to include baked goods, shakes and pizza dough. Good luck to them!

2. IMPOSSIBLE FOODS

A veggie patty burger is not any carnivore will be interested in, but Impossible Foods took up the challenge in 2011, situated in Silicon Valley, CA. A meatless cheeseburger made its debut in the city of New York in an Italain-Asian restaurant by the name of Momofuku Nishi. Now although this burger has a patty that resembled meat from every side, but it was simply a combination of wheat, cocnut oil, potato protein and the secret ingredient responsible to give the patty the meaty like pink shade and that is ‘heme’. Heme is found both in animals and plants responsible for carrying oxygen. Impossible foods found the way of extracting heme from plants and use it for making the burger patty smell, sizzle, bleed and tasty as meat. Such that now it is also available at three other places as well i.e. Andreas at Wynn (Las Vegas), Kronnerburger (Oakland) and Public House (San Francisco).

3. BEYOND MEAT

Ethan Brown started Beyond Meat by selling veggie burgers as frozen foods at Whole Foods, Colorado and now even Walmart has started selling their frozen stuff ranging from burger patties, chicken strips, crumbles and frozen meals. They are not widely available but they have managed to be sold in the meat section. Tyson Foods, a famous frozen food and meat processing company took a 5% stake in their company. The main ingredients in their vegetable patty includes pea protein, yeast extract, three different kinds of oil i.e. canola, sunflower and refined coconut, making them more palatable and succulent. Also to add to the color of the patty so that it resembles and bleed like meat, beet juice is added. When compared to a normal burger, it has significant amount of proteins, sodium, calcium and fats. A good competition is underway between Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat.

4. MEMPHIS MEAT

It is a food engineering company started by three scientists, one of them being a cardiologist. Their aim is to extract fetal serum from unborn calves and chicks in order to cultivate. It is still more of a lab project underway due to sky high prices up to 9000-18000 per pound of the meat. The fetal serum is what they are tending to replace with something that is plant origin. They have so far produced meatballs out of cow muscle tissue and dishes made of chicken and duck. Their prospects look brightening and they aiming to bring forward something exciting by the year 2021 keeping in mind also to reduce the costs of the lab produced meat.

5. SOYLENT

It is a smoothie like drink that act as a meal replacement since all the nutritional requirement for a normal adult are met by this drink. Soylent’s producers include Rob Rhinehart, Matt Cauble, John Coogan and David Renteln, it was due to massive crowdfunding that lead to soylent. It has been offered in the form of meal as well, but later it was discontinued due to gastrointestinal complains by the people. It is not a very tasty drink according to the reviews, the mixture looks bland and the taste is similar to like drinking a mixture of water and chalk. But it is a cheap drink that is fulfilling the desired nutrition at a cost of 2.69$ and aims to target the malnourished crowd.

6. CLARA FOODS

Egg whites are being used for purposes like making, meringue, mayonnaise, macaroons, pastas, and baking goods. Now for making these products, you need eggs and that too lots of them and for eggs you need chicken. Isha Datar, Arturo Elizondo and David Anchel are a team of Clara Foods that aim to produce egg white liquid from yeast specimen without the use of chicken. Egg production that is dependent on chicken production can decline in the season of Avian Flu and Salmonella, thus the production of eggs become affected. Thus they focus on stop being dependent on chicken and providing the human population with healthier and safe option. Their team has so far collected 1.75 million funding and plan to release their products soon.

About The Author
Ramisha Mesiya

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