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The Future of Meat Is Plant-Based Burgers | OutsideOnline


More protein than beef. More omegas than salmon. Tons of calcium, antioxidants, and vitamin B. In their secret R&D lab, the scientists at Beyond Meat concocted a plant-protein-based performance burger that delivers the juicy flavor and texture of the real thing with none of the dietary and environmental downsides. Source:

Stashed in: Bill Gates, food, Meat!, World Hunger

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Brown’s first breakthrough came when he discovered Fu-Hung Hsieh, a food scientist at the University of Missouri who had perfected a way to turn soy protein into strips that chewed like chicken. (Top secret, can’t tell you, but it has to do with heat, kneading, and cool water.) Brown founded Beyond Meat in 2009, and in 2012, its inaugural product, Beyond Chicken Strips, began wowing the gatekeepers of the food world.

“Most impressive,” said Food Network geek Alton Brown. “It’s more like meat than anything I’ve ever seen that wasn’t meat.”

“Fooled me badly,” Mark Bittman admitted in his New York Times food column. It also fooled Twitter cofounder (and vegan) Biz Stone, so he invested in the company.

So did Bill Gates, whose Gates Foundation backs potentially world-saving innovations. “I tasted Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative,” he wrote online, “and honestly couldn’t tell it from real chicken.” Gates quickly realized the blockbuster potential. “Our approach to food hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years. It’s ripe for reinvention. We’re just at the beginning of enormous innovation.”

isn't a lot of soy one of the general food problems mentioned today?

I fileted the wrong part:

For Brown, gluten was out. Also becoming less popular with consumers was phytoestrogen-heavy soy, the other mainstay of both veggie burgers and Beyond Chicken. But top food scientists had labored for years to come up with palatable soy- and gluten-free meat substitutes, with no luck. Plants just didn’t want to be meat.

It was time for a paradigm shift. In the fall of 2013, Brown hired Tim Geistlinger, a biotech rock star who had been working with the Gates Foundation to develop antimalarial drugs and a yeast that makes clean jet fuel out of sugar. Geistlinger fits the Beyond Meat mold: brainiac science geek who bikes on the beach every night and recently completed his first Tough Mudder. (“I was one of the only non-meat-eaters on my team,” Geistlinger says, “but with access to compounds like these, it’s a no-brainer.”)

Geistlinger, chef Dave Anderson, and the other Beyond Meat scientists began a series of marathon sessions in the lab, trying to do what cattle do: transform short plant proteins into long, succulent fibers. Their legume of choice was the yellow pea, whose protein is readily available—both to the body and in the marketplace. Pea starch is used by the food industry as a natural thickener for everything from sauces to deli meats. In the past, after the starch was isolated, the protein was discarded. Win-win.

Pea protein is the new darling of the no-soy health-food set, but it has a powdery mouthfeel and no structural integrity, so it has never starred in its own production. “Without fibers you can have something that’s hard and dry or mushy and wet,” Geistlinger says. “They’re fairly mutually exclusive.” Early last year, Beyond Meat released a pea-based product, Beyond Beef Crumble, that approximated the look and feel of cooked ground beef and made a decent taco filling, but it wouldn’t hold together and had no chew. Geistlinger decided he had to create fibers from the material—that is, do something to make them line up and link together to mimic muscle.

(RTFA!  Because there's more!  :)  )

I like RTFA. Seems like a very pandawhale acronym. 

God knows I silently think it enough.  :)

Creating fibers reminds me of this HalibutBoy quote:

Think of cows as meat-producing machines. We can build other meat-producing machines.

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