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posted by janrinok on Friday December 06 2019, @03:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the can-i-have-ketchup-with-that dept.

"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.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @06:49PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @06:49PM (#929026)

    You're totally ignoring that meat needs feed which is plant based, grasses and occasionally grains. They're shipped out, beef steers to feedlots specifically, where they're fed copious amounts of grain including corn and soy both of which must be moved by some means (train, then tractor trailer/dumptruck). Then they're sent to slaughter which could be the feedlot or it could be 100 miles away. Then their processed bodies are shipped the world over. They will require freezing and refrigeration from here on out, using electricity that is probably generated with fossil fuels.

    This as opposed to fertilizer shipment, pesticide shipment, and then watering for a crop season. Then shipping. I'd posit you're cutting out one or two shipment cycles, and a 70% conversion loss. Shelf life on a lot of plant products supersedes animal proteins. A good deal of staples like onions, potatoes, many fruits can all be held at room temp. There's also nuts which have a very long room temp shelf life. I can't speak for dehydration, but considering the cost of jerky meat is much more difficult to process compared to fruits, which also lends itself to plant based shelf life efficiency arguments.

  • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday December 06 2019, @07:29PM (1 child)

    by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @07:29PM (#929066) Journal

    I think the problem with jerky is tradition. That's also why it's high in salt. It could probably be vacuum dried at just above freezing to jerky dry and then pressure cooked with hot dry air and then sealed. I think this would keep as well as jerky does as long as the seal was kept. But it's not traditional, it would take preparation to taste better than jerky, and there's not already a market for it. You might check hiking supplies, as it might already be available, but high in cost because it's only for a specialty market.

    Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @08:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @08:01PM (#929089)

      People who eat higher salt diets have lower blood pressure:

      In Framingham, people with higher combined intakes of sodium (3,717 milligrams per day on average) and potassium (3,211 milligrams per day on average on average) had the lowest blood pressure. []

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 06 2019, @11:45PM (2 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday December 06 2019, @11:45PM (#929191) Journal

    You assume that cattle require feed to be trucked in from other places. In the West, cows eat grass on the plains.

    Second, you assume that veg transported from farm to market require no refrigeration or treatment. You are wrong. They require inspection and climate control.

    Then when it comes time to transport a ton of beef to market, vs. a ton of, say, cucumbers, the fossil fuel cost is the same.

    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday December 07 2019, @03:43AM (1 child)

      by Reziac (2489) on Saturday December 07 2019, @03:43AM (#929279) Homepage

      "Then when it comes time to transport a ton of beef to market, vs. a ton of, say, cucumbers, the fossil fuel cost is the same."

      However, the per-unit cost to truck veggies is a lot higher if you count not gross tons, but protein and calories. Counted that way, only wheat and corn come anywhere close to the per-ton nutritional density of meat.

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday December 07 2019, @01:22PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday December 07 2019, @01:22PM (#929378) Journal

        That's a good point.

        Washington DC delenda est.