Food from thin air? Cultured pork? Yes, this is the future, please have a seat.
More “fake” meat
Only a few days ago, Impossible Foods unveiled its new plant-based meat replacement at CES 2020. Just like the plant-based fake beef in Impossible Burger, the pork variety relies on soy as a protein source, but it also includes an iron-containing heme molecule, plus coconut and sunflower oil. The new product is intended to replace ground pork, so it’s ideal for things like meatballs or patties. A sausage is on its way to a Burger King near you by the end of this month.
What’s even better than saving some pigs’ lives, is the nutritional data of the new compound. Impossible claims 40% fewer calories, 60% less total fat, 40% less saturated fat, and a total lack of cholesterol for their plant-based pork. And the taste appears to be excellent, too.
Mind you, this is no longer a nerdy trend without significant impact. According to a report from AT Kearney, by 2040 the supply for conventional meat will drop to a 40% share. 25% of the market will be filled by plant-based replacement, while the rest of 35% will rely on cultured meat.
Food from thin air
And if you think Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are too advanced for our age, think again. A Finnish company -- Solar Foods -- is determined to create food from thin air using only renewable energy sources. They are creating a protein -- Solenin -- to be used as a neutral additive to all sorts of foods, from pies, ice cream, and biscuits to pasta, noodles, sauces or bread. The inventors also claim that Solenin will be used as a medium for growing cultured meat or fish. Just like soy protein. At the same price. By the end of the decade, or even by the end of 2025, in their most optimistic scenario. Do we hear a wow? We should!
To make Solein, water is “split” into hydrogen and oxygen, by means of electrolysis. The hydrogen, alongside carbon dioxide from the air and minerals are fed to bacteria, which then produce the protein. Solar Foods says that they are offering a platform that “disconnects food production from agriculture”. It is a bold claim, but it could be true. Their invention is not just disruptive, but also sustainable.
You know what’s strange? The ideas behind this amazing technology were originally developed for the space industry in the 1960s. One could wonder what have we done in the past 60 years instead of refining the tech and ending world hunger? It’s hard to tell. Or not.