There's an impressive lack of humility here. Predictions are hard, particularly about the future. I challenge the authors to construct a longbets.org wager on the above. I wonder if spelling out verifiable details and putting a significant amount of cash on the line would soften their certainty a bit. If the terms of the bet reflect the assurance in the executive summary I'd be willing to take the other side of it.
Even if they're completely accurate about the benefits and the economics, I think they're greatly underestimating the canalization of human food choices.
Here we go: https://www.nbcnewyork.com/entertainment/the-scene/Plant-Bas...
> A number of fast-food chains have introduced plant-based meat alternatives in recent months, partnering with meatless companies Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods.
> They are reacting to consumers' increased appetite for those foods: from April 2018 to April 2019, the plant-based retail market has registered 11% growth, according to data published on the Plant Based Foods Association website.
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Or this: https://www.starherald.com/news/nation_world/impossible-burg...
> Impossible Burger debuted on store shelves earlier this month, immediately becoming the No. 1 product sold at some of America’s favorite grocery stores -- and remaining the top performer ever since.
> Since its Sept. 20 debut, Impossible Burger has remained the No. 1 packaged item at Gelson’s 27-unit chain. Since its launch, Gelson’s has sold more Impossible Burger than all types of ground beef from cows, based on both revenue and total number of pounds sold.
> “No one could have predicted this level of pent-up demand for Impossible Burger,” said John Bagan, Gelson’s Chief Merchandising Officer.
I think we are at the base of the "hockey-stick" curve and that meatless meat is about to eat beef's lunch.
(And don't bother to say "no animals harmed". That isn't an axis that matters to customers of beef.)
there is also still the general problem with all processed foods being less healthy than naturally grown foods...
> The cost of proteins will be five times cheaper by 2030 and 10 times cheaper by 2035 than existing animal proteins
This is about more than nutritional equivalence. The meat in a burger is usually the most expensive component so artificial proteins could lead to a reduction in the price of a burger by approximately 5x.
Also, naturally grown food means different things to different people. As mentioned elsewhere in this discussion, much of the naturally grown food we consume now is produced in a vastly different way than it would have been 100 years ago, sometimes to the detriment of nutritional value.
The rise of veganism, mostly on ethical grounds, shows that nutritional equivalence may in fact be a minority concern, and that the ethics of "cruelty-free" eating supercede all nutritional concerns.
It’s easy to see bugs, it’s not so easy to see or ever know the externalities of invisible chemicals.
> there is also still the general problem with all processed foods being less healthy than naturally grown foods...
Yer preachin' to the choir: I'll never eat these franken-burgers for love nor money.
It's not even possible to buy a gallon jug of soymilk. They simply don't exist.
Addendum: Actually, you might be talking about the discussion here, rather than the article...
Looking into the authors, they don’t lack credentials, but it seems like they’re newsletter and report writers, not people who are putting skin in the game to back their claims.
First impression: be skeptical of “the Seba Technology Disruption Framework™“, named after the founder, but open to a change in opinion.
Does anybody have experience with these guys? I could be way off!
very few of the citations are scientific in nature
The article makes a number of bold claims, without citing evidence. This is only acceptable because it's a summary of a larger report which _does_ cite evidence, but the presentation of the page doesn't make this as obvious as it could. It would be quite easy to skim-read the post, observe that there are bold un-sourced claims being made, and fail to notice that the full report is available to download.
Having said that, by far the overwhelming position on the "non meat burgers" is of environmental/reduced animal suffering positions. I've seldom (actually never, thinking about it) heard it pushed for health reasons.
The real benefit, in my mind, is not removing the staple treat of fast food from the market, while vastly reducing our need to farm red meat.
I would posit adoption of plant based diets "under the hood" of fast food (and hopefully restaurants) is one of the easiest, most effective ways of dramatically reducing red meat consumption. This has an enormous impact. Most cropland is used for livestock feed, and 1/3 of ALL US LAND is used for pasture.
This is why a plant based diet is on the top 10 ways to fight global climate change (4. Plant-rich diet), and starts to remove incentives for slash-and-burn agriculture (5. Better tropical forest health). Growing a lb of meat requires significantly more land, water, (and therefore fertilizer, etc), than the equivalent macros from plants.
"That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target. "
Next we should tackle ethanol (1/3 of corn yields go to ethanol).
Any "well it may not be better for you" argument against this approach does seem to ignore that we believed red meat was bad for you for decades and we still spend so much of our resources growing red meat.
There are a lot of choices for hamburger in the grocery stores I go to. Both fresh ground meat, and frozen preformed hamburgers. Have you looked? Someone must be buying them.
There were several threads on r/vegan that spoke to the same symptoms, but with only vague guesses to the cause—like the oils.
There is a lot of hubris displayed in the world of nutrition when any scientists I’ve spoken to in the research (rather than product) space seem to conclude that there isn’t enough known about the complex interactions that occur in our bodies when we eat a “whole” food utilizing the variety of compounds and their structured forms/proportions to say whether or not we can realistically and safely just supplement them yet. I’ve always been told, sure go ahead and supplement but just eat the food as well. Just don’t over eat. And eat mostly real food, shy away from processed stuff.
Olive oil doesn't have trans fat, is low in omega-6 (unlike seed oils), has a high ratio of monunsaturated fats to saturated and polyunsaturated fats, and has a bunch of vitamins and antioxidants as well. It's pretty much the healthiest fat in existence.
I did a quick search and found this:
which suggests that EVOO has a relatively low smoke point compared to sunflower and peanut oil.
I'm still open to other numbers though, since I'm not sure what study if any these numbers come from.
Depends on where you are. If in the USA, maybe it is, and be prepared for much worse: Mr. Trump is threatening with 25% minimum tariff for our oil. Funny that it's some kind of retaliation for Airbus, while Airbus finally will be spared. In the bright side, it should be even cheaper for us.
The low temperature smokepoint scaremongering for olive oil has been debunked: https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/why-you-sho...
Most seed oils in the Western diet come from fast food and the fryer which increases the chance of lipid oxidation.
We need both omega 3 and omega 6 but the Western diet is so heavily skewed towards omega 6 that it's killing us.
The worst type of dietary fat is the kind known as trans fat. It is a byproduct of a process called hydrogenation that is used to turn healthy oils into solids and to prevent them from becoming rancid. Trans fats have no known health benefits and that there is no safe level of consumption.
There are trans fat free margarines now, but historically margarine have been a tub of trans fat.
Animals, insects, mold or bacteria, will NOT eat margarine.
It's not even digestible.
Oils in general, even extra virgin olice oil are not health foods (which is a common misconception).
Beyond burguers are not healthy, they are junk food. Plant-based junk food, but still junk food.
If people are looking to learn how to eat healthy, the science say's its whole food plant-based. Don't eat plant extracts like oils, you need to eat the whole thing.
Eat peas and not pea protein isolate, eat olives and not olive oil. And so forth.
Just because something is plat-based does not make it healthy, Oreos are plant-based for example. Does anyone think they are healthy?
It's about the perception of the public on certain foods, that is very hard to break as its built on decades of conditioning via advertising and pop culture.
Not sure why you'd think that's a straw man when they explicitly state it on their website. First sentence on their Products page:
"Imagine your favorite meaty dishes like burgers and tacos delivering the juicy, delicious taste you know and love, while being better for you and the planet." 
Examples like these are why I'm convinced that environmental impact reduction and ultimately rejuvenation is possible without massively disrupting life as we know it.
It would be great if governments could better align taxes and incentives for the development and real-world deployment of these technologies, but they seems to be progressing quite well even in a maximally dysfunctional political environment.
Someday, we'll hit a Malthusian bottleneck that we can't innovate our way out of, presumably. However, to date, every time disaster looms, something occurs that kicks the can down the road. It makes it very difficult to take seriously the endlessly repeatedly claims that the world as we know it is coming to an end in the short term - the result of such hysteria seems to be to induce a lot of self-righteous and largely pointless churn, while unheralded technology quietly solves the crisis du jour without fanfare.
I guess because people secretly long for the world to end. Rapture, Climate Change, nuclear armageddon, AIDS, Y2K, Peak Oil, take your pick. It's been a constant of life in Western civilisation for the last 50 years at least. There has never been a period in my life when there hasn't been some impending catastrophe that was going to destroy life as we know it.
I would blame the media - and that is definitely part of it. But the media only does this because we lap it up. Something about human psychology loves this idea that we're in the End Times.
> Peak Oil, Climate Change
Makes more sense if you consider this (and other related scares) as symptoms of the same phenomenon, which shows no sign of stopping.
Let's talk about how we're going to innovate ourselves off the exponentially growing resources -> consumption -> trash pipeline we're running. I don't see much happening that would address it.
>In the "boy crying wolf" story, the wolf eventually came.
... and what would have helped the boy was if he hadn't been crying wolf unnecessarily.
As marcus_holmes points out there always seems to be something.
A little longer than that. E.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse
The difference is we didn't have nuclear weapons, genetic engineering, chemistry (for chem weapons), etc. We could actually do it now.
"We are as gods and might as well get good at it."
(I'm not saying that pre-civilized life was an actual Golden Age, just that it satisfied us on a deep biological level in a way that urban/civil life doesn't.)
What am I missing here to be excited about a future of custom fermented food products?
People who don't want to personally change their lifestyle seem to frequently look for "magic" solutions at the societal level, often overlooking logic fails in the scenario that is being painted. It's like they imagine if the whole world changes, then I don't have to. Or something.
If you want to keep eating like you currently eat and this prediction comes true, then you have to put in additional effort to try to keep doing the same things.
The shitshow of American agriculture is due to the technological wonders that moved most vegetable production to the California desert and the over utilization of the Midwest aquifers.
Most of our sustainable east coast growing areas are subdivisions now.
'Ways of living with no additional 'customer-effort' ?'
Yeah, I see now what you're getting at.
Even slightly changing the natural feed of an animal we eat dramatically changes the quality and nutritional value.
thinking that you can so dramatically change the production (and only produce one part of a food - one of the proteins) all the other elements we need are lost.
It sounds like a recipe for malnutrition.
I also doubt that it will be 5 times cheaper for the consumer. When you include all the costs, not just productions, but government incentives and environmental costs for examples, one might claim that it will be socially cheaper, eventually... One can hope. It will also be easier to transport the system to another planet.
But, this is very speculative, and the 5-10 years milestone is very very optimistic and probably takes into account some fairy magic dust here and there.
The hippies were right.
Eat food your grandmother would recognise.
Eat it as unprocessed as practical.
Eat a lot of it raw.
But I bet where people have no choice (in prison, public hospitals, schools, on food stamps...) it will become compulsory.
Eating "real" food may end up a luxury for most.
So maybe just stay away from the opiates when you eat your raw broccoli.
> The impact of this disruption on industrial animal farming will be profound. By 2030, the number of cows in the U.S. will have fallen by 50% and the cattle farming industry will be all but bankrupt.
This is ridiculous. I'm not going to stop eating beef because of the availability of cheap weird unproven lab-grown protein. I might try the latter, maybe feed it to my pets, but as long as I can reasonably afford to eat real meat, I'm going to do so.
The market that will suffer most is probably going to be the non-GMO organic stuff you mention, because it's already that much more expensive than the cheap stuff, so it will be even harder to justify for most folks, esp. if the lab-grown replacements get endorsed as being Healthy by the right Authorities on the issue.
"McDonald’s hamburger patties in the U.S. are made with 100% USDA-inspected beef. They are cooked and prepared with salt, pepper and nothing else; no preservatives, no fillers."
If we had that there wouldn't be so much meat in the first place. Currently, each year, American taxpayers subsidize the animal food system to the tune of $38 billion.
> inexpensive healthy high protein
Most people don't know how much protein they should actually be eating . And while they're focusing on "high protein" they fail to understand the need for "high fiber". The Western diet focused on proteins isn't doing us any good in the long run by using the majority of our farm land for feed crops. And then we've been told eating chicken  7 days a week, twice a day is "healthy". What Canada did by boxing out big agriculture and regroup their dietary recommendations is impressive by making it evidence based and not lobbyist driven .
The problem is how we distribute it. Systemic change is the only thing that can address this problem in a meaningful way. Efficiency is great but producing more when we already have enough is completely missing the issue at hand.
Consumers, as usual, are the key to changing this. We'd have to change the eating and shopping habits of an entire generation to change this.
Changing the system won't work without changing the way we think about food and food shopping.
For instance, I've seen a few people online pitching "ugly produce" startups. But what prevents Campbells Soup and Jamba Juice from buying all the ugly fruit/veggies?
Orders were often mis-placed or fat-fingered, and too much food would get delivered (or too little, but that's another story). Sometimes the stores would accept an over-delivery and allow it through, most times not, so it got destroyed.
Food deliveries to our centre had a specific 15-minute window. If the vehicle arrived outside that window, we would try and accomodate it if we could, but often couldn't. In extreme cases the truck would not be unloaded and have to return to the producer. Sometimes they took the food back with them. Sometimes they dumped it at our place and went back empty, because it would go out of date before it could be re-delivered.
The saddest case I saw: a supermarket chain buyer found an artisan cheese producer in Wales who was making amazing cheese. The buyer set up the contract, the artisan bought a van to deliver the cheese to us. But no-one told them the specs. They turned up in a nice little refrigerated van, when all our docks only accepted articulated trucks. We couldn't handball the produce without exposing it to ambient temperatures, so we couldn't accept delivery. Poor sod had to drive back to Wales with a van full of unsold cheese that was going out of sell-by date and was packaged in <supermarket chain> packaging. I expect most of that was destroyed.
This was one interaction in an entire distribution chain. Every interaction was this leaky. And that didn't count the final stores who (as everyone knows) routinely destroy perfectly edible food that has reached its sell-by date.
There have been initiatives to get this edible food to people in need. All of them run into the legal problem that you cannot serve people food that has passed its sell-by date. It's perfectly edible, but if someone gets food poisoning after eating it then that's on you, and there's no way of dodging that liability. People in poverty have a right not to be poisoned.
The "ugly food" thing is a product of EU legislation (in the UK anyway). I was amazed when I moved to Australia at how ugly the veggies are ;) I'm pretty sure that the ugly food gets sold at a lower price to food manufacturers (as you say).
More importantly, the health benefits claim has been debunked before: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/impossible-burger-or-b...
> The challenge here is that these offerings aren’t actually any healthier. The Impossible Whopper, for instance, not only has comparable caloric and fat levels as its meat-based counterpart, but it has more salt per serving; the Del Taco options are comparable. The Impossible Slider has more calories, more fat and more sodium than the meaty original (before you add cheese to either).
The salt content is significantly higher and protein sources are ultra processed, which we have ample research to show that ultra processed foods have adverse health effects.
The environmental claims appear more straightforward, but we don’t need to engineer our food to drastically reduce impact - simply switch from beef to chicken.
“No question chicken is a fraction of beef’s carbon emissions and it likely has the lowest carbon footprint of any animal protein,”
In short, we don’t need to wait until 2035 to cut our overall food carbon footprint in half. Better yet, let’s include more unprocessed vegetable sources and eat less animal protein all together. (I know... not going to happen)
I suggest the real health problem of beef could be a particular carbohydrate (Neu5Gc) that non-human mammals have Impossible Burgers would avoid this.
Do you have a source on how "Processed" clearly relates to adverse health effects.
The opportunity is, to create foods that better match what we need. Instead of eating the random cow we fixed on for our modern meat supply.
Then I realized "disruption" was meant in the marketing sense. This is why I read the comments first.
Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.
-- Niels Bohr
Not a lot of facts though. Such gleeful negativism in our gene pool.
"Just because you don't know how to do something doesn't mean you can't."
Is there anything on the market now that uses this technique?
The purpose of this article is food deregulation advocacy. If you thought unregulated sugar was bad, just wait.
I like the idea of returning pasture etc to forest and bush, but where will the raw materials for food manufacture be sourced?
They certainly make bold claims and some cites sure would help to convince me as to their claims.
It will take much much longer to replace a good steak, ribs, a crisp apple, etc