"A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer."
--Dr Mark Post
The world's largest food concern, Unilever, has opened a new research lab at the world's most prestigious agricultural university, the University of Wageningen (the Netherlands).
Unilever will locate all elements of its foods R&D there. A spokeswoman on Dutch radio stressed plant-based meat alternatives as an important research subject.
Wageningen University has strong credentials in that respect, with the development of shear cell technology.
Shear cell technology strings plant proteins together in tightly controlled fibers, resulting in a meat substitute where texture (fibrousness, bite, mouthfeel) can easily be controlled, and changed at will. This, combined with 3D food printing, offers the possibility of creating multiple meat (substitute) variations in future.
Unilever's food campus is open to startups, innovators and partners. One of the first to have build its own lab on the same grounds is Symrise, an industrial flavours and scents group.
About half of Dutch people call themselves 'flexitarians'. This means that they don't eat meat with their main meal at least three times a week. The proportion of vegetarians is stable, at just under five percent of the Dutch population.
Wageningen researchers believe, however, that feeding 9 billion people with animal meat will not be sustainable for the planet.
It's kind of difficult to market. Staunch (read: moral superiority complex) vegans are reluctant to accept anything branded as meat.
Those staunch vegans have, IMO, do have a moral (and health and...) superiority over the people who will eat plant and chemical goop processed way more than an inch beyond its life into something not quite entirely unlike meat just so they can say "see I can have bacon (well almost) without the guilt and so could you". Why spend a bunch of time energy and money to make vegetables look vaguely like meat if you don't want to eat meat, just eat the feckin vegetables?
Eat bacon, enjoy bacon, know that a pig died so you could eat bacon, and be happy and thankful for it.ORDon't eat bacon, eat plants, know that a pig didn't die so you could eat, and be happy and thankful for it.
Either of those is way ahead of:
Don't eat bacon, miss eating bacon, be unhappy you "can't" eat bacon, jump at the opportunity of eating something that pretends to be bacon but is actually mushed up plant goop and factory made chemical flavouring _just_ so you can try and kid yourself that you can eat bacon while not killing a pig.
That's not how it works. Meat is more or less a universal staple most recipes call directly for some form of animal protein, it's difficult to reproduce the features of a lot of meals without some form of largely flavorless protein blob synthesized by a bio-accumulator. That's what drives the meat analogue market, not a moral superiority complex. Those who have moral superiority complexes won't eat the shit because it is labeled as analogous to meat. And compounding that they probably take issue with the fact that Kellogg and Monsanto produce some of the major "meatless" brands, and then you've got others like Tyson considering entering the market which is a whole new ball game, where a supermassive international meat distributor is putting its fingers in what would otherwise be ethical markets.
And if you're going to whinge about goop, let's not be disingenuous, meat and meat processing is fucking disgusting. The livestock are filthy and abused, coating a veneer of communal shit while having a mystery concoction of antibiotics and odd grains and hormones injected into every facet of their development at high volumes isn't hot. Neither is the fact that the meat is bleached in ammonia.