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Bill Gates Sees Big Potential In Vegan Meat Companies

Beyond Meat – meat alternative

As more countries continue to develop and the world’s population gets closer to reaching 9 billion by 2050, food consumption is growing along with it. Meat consumption alone has doubled in the last 20 years, and most of us know by now that meat production is a grueling process that takes an intense toll on the environment.

Bill Gates recently discussed this conundrum on his blog in a post titled “Future of Food,” where he explores the environmental impact of meat consumption and some more sustainable alternatives.

“Put simply, there’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people,” he wrote. “Yet we can’t ask everyone to become vegetarians. We need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources.”

His solution is to rely more on companies such as Hampton Creek Foods and Beyond Meat, who both produce vegan meats that apparently taste delicious without using animal products. Both experiment with turning plants into food that tastes like meat and eggs, and Gates says he was “impressed” by Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative and couldn’t tell the difference between it and real chicken.

There’s no doubt that a lot of people will not be interested in this, at least not yet. However, another interesting product he mentioned comes from a company called Nu-Tek Food Science, which turns potassium chloride into salt with considerably less sodium.

Overall, Gates sees these new products as having huge market potential since the farm-to-table process has not changed much and it’s probably time for an overhaul. His article is filled with infographics and stats on what needs to change, and plenty of information on healthy alternatives that could feed more people without the use of factory farming.

I think one of the biggest obstacles will be the old animal protein argument, since it seems to be the biggest defense for eating chicken and beef. Do you think products like this could catch on during the next decade or so, or are people in developed countries too headstrong about their meat products?

Image: Beyond Meat

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  • Michael Birks

    As long as the taste and texture are acceptable and the protein is there (Is there actually a difference between animal derived protein and that from other sources?), I don’t have a problem with it. If the price was right, I wouldn’t have any issue with even preferring it.

    Where I suspect that there might be an issue is in calling it “Vegan Meat”. If, according to the Gates quote in the article, we can’t expect everyone to become vegetarians, how is Vegan any better? Isn’t it actually a stronger ethical and nutritional standpoint than vegetarianism?

    Call it Meat Alternative, or “I Can’t believe it’s not Meat”, or whatever, but I suspect legitimate Vegans will have a problem with the concept of ‘Vegan Meat’.

  • http://www.the9billion.com/ John Johnston

    I agree with you on this, and funny you should say that, as I was tossing up using “meat alternatives” in the headline, as even having “vegan” in a headline tends to put a lot of people off even reading.

    I don’t think there is much difference between animal and vege proteins, except I think vege proteins are supposed to be combined with certain other foods (eg complex carbs) to get similar benefits, but not sure on that, even though I was vegetarian for over a decade!.

    I’ve tasted quite a few meat alternatives (mock this, not-bacon that etc), mostly made from soy products, and none of them have had a similar taste to meat really – or have tasted that great. I’d be interested to taste the ones mentioned. I keep hearing good things about Beyond Meat, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raza.shah.5836711 Raza Shah

    it worths but should be cost effective and even it should be subsidised in poor countries with big populations

  • http://www.facebook.com/Projectfin Jennifer Lee

    Yes there is a difference between meat protein and plant protein. Plant protein can be easily digested – it akalines and has no side effect on the human body. It comes from a wide variety of plants such as fermented soy, brocolli, asparagus, spinach etc. See: http://gentleworld.org/10-protein-packed-plants/

    Animal protein contains fats ans chloresterol who does not exist in plant protein. It acidifies the human body – during the disgestion process, it corrodes our bones of calcium, causing ostereoporosis. This is the reason why many Americans suffer bone deficiency / bone loss despite calcium pills and dairy products (milk, cheese and cream) at almost every meal, while ostereoporosis is peak low in places such as India where bulk of the population are vegans and vegetarians.

    The only thing that is present in meat that is not present in plants is Vit B12. B12 comes from the soil and we wash B12 away when we wash our veggies when consuming them. Animals have B12 in their flesh because they consume unwashed grains and B12 bioaccumulates in their body.

    Vegans and vegetarians only need to supplement their diet with B12 to lead a healthy life. Lack of protein in a meat-free diet is hence, not a concern at all.

    See also: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4491/My-Top-7-Sources-of-PlantBased-Protein.html

  • http://twitter.com/Troyss12 Troy

    There is a huge difference between animal and plant protein. There is a study/book called “The China Study.” It is about a massive epidemiological study undertaken in China, looking at the difference between disease rates of Chinese people who eat more western diets, heavy in animal protein, and rural Chinese people who still consume more plant based protein. Long story short, cancer, diabetes, heart disease all go up when we consume more animal proteins.