Pat Brown, geneticist and founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, said he was confident he could replace the use of animals with food technology by 2035.
On the sidelines of a Web Summit conference, Pat Brown he gave an interview with the Washington Post and was quite determined. "Our mission is to completely replace the use of animals with food technology by 2035. We are very serious and believe it is doable," he said.
An ambitious goal
I was confident that we would be successful when I launched this company, and now I am even more successful. The game is over for the current food industry. He simply hasn't figured it out yetPat Brown, Impossible Foods
According to Brown's company, every time you eat an Impossible Burger instead of a beef burger, 96% less land is wasted, 87% less water, 89% less CO2.
Brown acknowledged that the environmental issue is not enough to induce people to change their diet. This is why his company has decided to take a different approach.
“The whole reason we have taken a new approach is that we depend on making a product that has to be liked. Consumers who do not care about climate change will choose a food technology product 'only' if it is delicious, affordable and with a high nutritional value. For many, sustainability will be just a bonus, ”he said.
For many, but not for everyone. I think that sustainability will have a high weight, if not the main one, in the choice of trying food technology products.
Less meat, or zero meat for the good of the planet?
By far, the most important factor of destruction today is the climate change. Added to this is the collapse of the global biodiversity, and the use of animals as food technology further worsens the picture.
“We have to get rid of it,” says Brown. "It is much more important than replacing fossil fuels in terms of benefits for the world."
Food technology by 2035: is it possible?
The future of food is also about science and biochemistry. What is behind the Impossible Burger is quite interesting, because it also tells us a lot about us.
Eating is primarily a sensory experience that takes place in the brain. To achieve this, scientists must reflect on the question of how to get the brain to send signals related to something good, and then associate them with the consumption of meat, even if the food in question does not come from an animal but from plants.
The goal, in summary, (at least that of Impossible Foods according to Brown) is to make a veggie burger that people can eat, getting the exact same experience of eating a beef burger. Including sound, sight, smell and taste.
From this point of view we can even speak of “neuroscientific” food, rather than vegetarian. A product that comes from the answer to a crucial question: what makes meat "meat"?
What makes meat "flesh"? What is heme?
To answer this question, food technology researchers have broken down a piece of beef. Molecule by molecule. And they identified the essential molecule behind the flavor of meat. It's called Eme.
The heme is a essential compound which contains iron and is found in living things. Heme occurs naturally in fairly high concentrations in the blood of humans and other animals. It is also found in much lower concentrations in many plants.
Good. Impossible Foods says heme is what makes meat look like meat. The heme also gives the pink color to the flesh, and that is what makes the blood red. And after cooking it turns brown. Just like meat, go.
Where to find Eme, if not from animals?
Heme can be extracted from the roots of soybeans. There leghemoglobin soy is the heme used by Impossible Foods. Others get it from turnips.
What about the other ingredients? Food technology relies on textured wheat protein to reproduce the meaty texture of beef. Potato proteins are used for the crunchy exterior. To get something that looks like grease and sizzles on the grill, tiny sheets of coconut oil are added.
The result is a product that has the look, texture and flavor of beef. The starting point of a process in which the brain will not be able to distinguish between a beef burger and one that is not beef.
If we consider the share of those who will focus directly on vegetable products, products such as Impossible Burger are suitable for those who eat meat.
A vegetarian no longer likes meat or what looks like meat.
Meat eaters, I said, have an alternative that will not only offer the same sensory experience, but will be a sustainable and healthier food option that benefits them, the animals and the planet.