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  #1   ^
Old Mon, Feb-05-24, 14:38
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default Your plant-based meat could soon have animal fat

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Your plant-based meat could soon have animal fat

As the plant-based meat market cools, some start-ups turn to a new ingredient: Actual meat


Plant-based meats — think the Impossible Burger or Quorn “chicken” nuggets — are generally filled with a long list of strange-sounding ingredients: pea protein, potato starch, coconut oil, mycoproteins and more. Those ingredients have turned off some consumers and sparked concerns about the highly processed nature of the average veggie burger or faux slice of bacon.

But now, a few start-ups are planning on adding one more component to the mix: animal fat. Some companies are growing fat in laboratories, hoping to combine it with wheat protein and spices to make an extra porky form of plant-based bacon. Others are pulling animal byproducts from traditional meat production and blending it with plant ingredients to create pieces of shredded steak.

The change could alter the identity of plant-based meats, which have been largely seen as an option for vegans and vegetarians. But proponents see that as a feature: a tasty way to propel plant-based meats away from the small proportion of consumers who don’t eat meat and into the mainstream.

“It’s fundamentally difficult to make plants taste like meat,” said Saba Fazeli, co-founder of the start-up Choppy, formerly known as Paul’s Table, which is incorporating fat into plant-based meat. “I would say it’s impossible.”

Why plant meats have struggled

In the late 2010s, plant-based meats looked poised to take over the world. Beyond Meat — which produces a plant-based burger colored red by beet juice — saw its stock rise to over $200 per share in 2019.

But after the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, the market slumped. In 2022, unit sales of plant-based meats in the United States fell by 8 percent from the previous year; plant-based companies that were former Wall Street darlings saw their stock prices plummet.

Food analysts say the flavors of plant-based meats aren’t yet up to par — and while meat-eating accounts for approximately 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, most consumers aren’t making choices based on sustainability so much as on cost and flavor.

“While people do want to change the world and want to live sustainable lives, ultimately, at the end of the day, people only want to do that when they’re able to eat the products that taste really good,” said Ed Steele, co-founder of the London-based cultivated fat start-up Hoxton Farms.

The need for fat

The solution, for some companies, is to incorporate one of the most flavorful components of real meat: fat.

“Fat is just such an incredibly important part of the food sensory experience,” said Priera Panescu, lead scientist for plant-based meats at the nonprofit Good Food Institute. Fat coats the tongue, causing flavors to linger much longer than they would otherwise. It also carries scents, helping to enhance the aroma of a freshly seared steak or roasted chicken breast. In one form or another, animal fat gives burgers their juice and pastries their flaky crusts.

Right now, the most commonly used fat alternative in plant-based meats is coconut oil. But while coconut oil is better than some other vegetable oils for plant-based meats, “it’s really nothing like animal fat,” Panescu said. Coconut oil has a much lower melting point than animal fat — meaning that during cooking, it melts too early, giving plant-based meat a greasier texture. It also doesn’t coat the mouth in the same way.

Without fat, the taste of plant-based meat is “incredibly disappointing,” Steele said. His company is cultivating blobs of pork belly fat in a London lab — fat that could ultimately provide the juice of a plant-based meatball.

In California, the start-up Mission Barns has set out on a similar path: growing pork fat in the lab that can be added to plant-based bacon, meatballs or sausages. “We feel it’s the biggest missing piece,” said Eitan Fischer, the company’s CEO.

Companies also claim that lab-grown fat has advantages over standard muscle tissue grown in the lab. Growing meat remains prohibitively expensive — while most companies do not publicly share their costs, lab-grown or “cultivated” meat is estimated to cost hundreds of dollars per pound. That’s largely because the process involves a host of expensive, medical-grade equipment, from bioreactors to the soupy nutrients that are pumped in to feed the growing cells.

Lab-grown fat still requires some of that equipment, but it takes different, cheaper nutrients than standard muscle cells. “No expensive proteins — you just need very cheap sugars and very cheap oils,” Fischer said. “It doesn’t take a lot to convince a fat cell that it’s time to store more energy.”

Some fat with your plants

Hybrid protein products have been around for a long time — large food companies like Perdue Farms have experimented with offering proteins that are mostly meat with some vegetable proteins blended in, sold under optimistic names like “Chicken Plus.” But the new companies are flipping that process on its head: building products that are around 90 percent plant-based with just 10 percent fat blended in.

That fat doesn’t even have to be grown in a lab. Fazeli’s company, Choppy, is adding byproducts of the meat industry — like fat, collagen and broth components — into plant-based products. For most vegetarians and vegans, that would make their products a no-go. But Fazeli and his co-founder, Brice Klein, aren’t necessarily looking for vegetarian buyers.

In the plant-based meat space, “we’ve been taking this kind of ‘Field of Dreams,’ ‘build it and they will come’ approach,” Klein said. “Billions of dollars have been poured into this space, and the number of people eating the product hasn’t changed.” Over the past 20 years, the percent of U.S. consumers who identify as vegetarians or vegans has remained relatively stable at less than 10 percent.

Because of that, Klein argues that trying to stay fully plant-based may be a waste of time. “We’re more interested in that mass market audience,” he said. Their prepackaged plant-based products — with fat added in — are sold at some grocery stores in California and Utah. Most of the cultivated fat companies are still waiting for Food and Drug Administration approval.

Will these new products work? It’s hard to say. Some of the problems with plant-based meats — consumer suspicion over long ingredient lists, high processing and higher costs — may carry over into the new blended foods. The food industry has yet to prove that any meat alternative can take a decisive chunk out of the market for chicken, pork and beef.

But the massive land requirements of the meat industry — combined with its sky-high carbon emissions — call for some change in how we eat. “The way that we produce food is unsustainable,” said Faraz Harsini, senior scientist for cultivated meat at the Good Food Institute. “There have to be alternatives.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/clim...eat-animal-fat/
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  #2   ^
Old Tue, Feb-06-24, 04:52
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Have they no idea how horrible this is? "Mmmm, cheap oils!"
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  #3   ^
Old Tue, Feb-06-24, 10:42
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is offline
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My son will not eat fake meat.

Even if its raviolis stuffed with fake meat. 😂
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  #4   ^
Old Tue, Feb-06-24, 15:44
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Never mind them claiming that plant based meat and lab grown pork fat is supposedly better environmentally...


THEY have been telling us for decades that animal fat is the deadliest part of meat!!! Death on a plate!!!

THEY have been trying to convince us that we should only be eating LEAN protein! Get rid of all the animal fat!!!!

So they make fake meat... and then add that deadly animal fat to it.



The irony of this is almost beyond belief.
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  #5   ^
Old Tue, Feb-06-24, 16:51
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Gypsybyrd Gypsybyrd is offline
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My food is already plant-based. My food eats plants. It does not get any more plant-based than that.
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  #6   ^
Old Tue, Feb-06-24, 20:04
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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I read that vegetarians are 4% of the US population and vegans are 1%.

It's hard to make a profit catering to such a small percentage of the population. Definitely a niche market.
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  #7   ^
Old Wed, Feb-07-24, 03:40
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob-a-rama
It's hard to make a profit catering to such a small percentage of the population. Definitely a niche market.


Not if they convince the omnivorous populace that plant-based is healthier, and they choose more of such foods. Which are addictive.

There's much too much plant-based UPF out there, all designed to hijack a person's appetite center. Not going to happen. I tuned out of a recent autoimmune video when the person encouraged the ideal anti-inflammatory diet as plant-based.

When that's a 180 from the truth about carnivore and autoimmune. I"ve studied it for 15 years. I've starting to see more papers which recognizes the gut health link with autoimmune. This might connect with how plants can create body stress.

Research now regards these reactions as positive, but that's not how it worked in my body. Autoimmune is also about disordered hormones, but plant sources are generally not good fats. Animal fat is how our body makes hormones. That and pregnenolone kept me from losing it until I could get bioidentical estrogen OTC.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29382608/
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  #8   ^
Old Fri, Feb-09-24, 13:34
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WereBear
Not if they convince the omnivorous populace that plant-based is healthier, and they choose more of such foods. Which are addictive.<...snip...>

Which is exactly what they are trying to do. “Plant Based” sounds much less like a cult term than vegetarian.

They will even tell you that it's kinder to global warming, when the fertilizer industry emits thousands of times more methane than all the cow burps and farts combined. But when doing the numbers, they ignore the manufacture of the fertilizer.

And most people aren't inquisitive enough to realize they are being fed lies. And once they swallow the lie, hook, line, and sinker, there is nothing anyone else can do to change their minds. "My mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts."

Last edited by Kristine : Sat, Feb-10-24 at 03:06. Reason: Fixing Quote Tag
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  #9   ^
Old Fri, Feb-09-24, 21:57
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is offline
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"The irony of this is almost beyond belief."


Isn't that one of the brand names "Beyond" ...

Last edited by Ms Arielle : Sat, Feb-10-24 at 09:19.
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  #10   ^
Old Sat, Feb-10-24, 08:03
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Quote:
That fat doesn’t even have to be grown in a lab. Fazeli’s company, Choppy, is adding byproducts of the meat industry — like fat, collagen and broth components — into plant-based products. For most vegetarians and vegans, that would make their products a no-go. But Fazeli and his co-founder, Brice Klein, aren’t necessarily looking for vegetarian buyers.


Industrial food manufacturers have been using broths and animal fat in plant based products for years, such as the seasoning in cup noodles, ramen flavor packets, flavored rice mixes, and stove top stuffing mixes.

But those were always labeled as chicken flavored, beef flavored, turkey flavored.

They admit that by adding in meat byproducts they're no longer looking for vegetarian buyers. And no wonder, considering just how small of a niche vegetarians and vegans are.

But it does make me wonder how they're going to label these foods so that the vegetarians and vegans don't have a complete hissy-fit about formerly vegan food being adulterated with animal products.
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  #11   ^
Old Sat, Feb-10-24, 15:20
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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I wonder how many non-vegetarians are really going to want to buy a plant-based/meat infused/imitation hamburger?

That's not a business I would have invested any money in.

We have some vegan (thankfully non-preachy) friends. When they started, they bought Boca Burgers, and then decided — why eat something that tastes like the food they are trying to avoid?

We buy 100% grass-fed/grass-finished ground beef and make our own hamburgers. It doesn't get any better than that.
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  #12   ^
Old Sat, Feb-10-24, 18:51
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob-a-rama
I wonder how many non-vegetarians are really going to want to buy a plant-based/meat infused/imitation hamburger?

That's not a business I would have invested any money in.

We have some vegan (thankfully non-preachy) friends. When they started, they bought Boca Burgers, and then decided — why eat something that tastes like the food they are trying to avoid?

We buy 100% grass-fed/grass-finished ground beef and make our own hamburgers. It doesn't get any better than that.


I don't think they're going to.

Then again, there will probably be some who feel guilty that they just can't go 100% vegetarian, and will buy the meat byproduct infused fake meat, rationalizing that at least they're only eating meat byproducts on the days when they have the meat byproduct infused fake meat.

I wonder if they'll realize that the pet food manufacturers have been using meat byproducts in dog and cat food for ages, so they'll be paying premium prices so that they can eat the equivalent of pet food.
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  #13   ^
Old Sat, Feb-10-24, 22:05
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms Arielle
"The irony of this is almost beyond belief."


Isn't that one of the brand names "Beyond" ...


Yes - Beyond Meat.

Then there's also Impossible Burger.

Both names say a lot about what the product ISN'T - and that is that neither is what they want you to think of it as being just like: meat/ground beef.

They also don't want you to fully realize that it doesn't in any way resemble the original source of the ingredients used to make it, making them some of the most ridiculously ultra processed foods in the world.

It's comparable to the depression era Ritz mock apple pie recipe. It tastes sort of like apple pie, has a texture similar to apple pie, and looks sort of like apple pie, but it's clearly NOT apple pie.
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  #14   ^
Old Tue, Feb-27-24, 20:18
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Bob-a-rama Bob-a-rama is offline
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These are frankenfoods. I think it's good to avoid them.
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  #15   ^
Old Thu, Feb-29-24, 04:03
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob-a-rama
We buy 100% grass-fed/grass-finished ground beef and make our own hamburgers. It doesn't get any better than that.


Agreed. I know some people don't like the taste, but I love it.

That's the fundamental disconnect vegans struggle with, because we have genetic imperatives that stretch back to far longer hunter/gather than farming. They operate on essentially the opposite of the way our species has evolved. Against anthropologic recognition that health suffered when we started civilization. Grains made it possible, but there are side effects with their use.

Vegans don't like hearing that. We became farmers and our health suffered? UNpossible. And vegans started the dietician's school, licensing structure, and influence to fight against science.

Not be its friend.

Also, I suspect a Wal-Martian model with this Beyond meat. Drive real meat out of "health" because it's red meat and will kill you, then degrade the product without lowering the cost.

Tissues are no longer filling the box, for instance. Ziplocked bags and deli containers won't fasten. I used to joke that corporations would jockey for us to be taxed, so they had enough money to satisfy Wall Street.

Now, I think it is their goal.
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