Yesterday, in “Hi, My Name Is_______, And I’m An Addict“, I shared with you the fact that billions of dollars are being spent to keep people physically and psychologically addicted to an unhealthy diet. I also pointed out that the first step to breaking an addiction is recognizing the fact that you have indeed surrendered yourself to and are now controlled by some unhealthy habit. For example, take eating eggs. In “No More Eggs For You!!“, three academic heavy-hitters were quoted as saying “just 3 eggs or more a week was associated with a significant increase in artery-clogging plaque buildup, a strong predictor of stroke, heart attack, and death.” Dr. Michael Greger’s www.nutritionfacts.org reports “eggs contain high levels of cholesterol and may contain carcinogenic retroviruses, toxic pollutants (such as PCB, arsenic, phthalates), and Salmonella.” In the face of this credible scientific data, why would anyone continue to eat eggs? For the same reason people continue to smoke………addiction. Whether it’s bacon, cheeseburgers, butter or chicken, if you find yourself saying “Oh, I could never give that up!”, guess what? You’re an addict and you need to put your name in the blank above.
But what if I came to you with a healthy, plant-based clone of eggs, bacon or cheese? And when I use the term clone, I mean a substitute that is so well engineered, you honestly can’t distinguish it from the real thing. In some cases, we’re already there. In “When Is A Chicken Not A Chicken?”, I shared a substitute for breaded chicken breast patties and nuggets, that just blew me away. But we still have a long way to go to make it even easier to kick the addiction to unhealthy food by offering legitimate, plant-based substitutes. The good news is that our free enterprise system seems to have finally latched on to this burgeoning industry and is beginning to pump big dollars and marketing expertise into its development.
When people like Bill Gates and the Silicon Valley crowd start investing heavily, in both time and money, you can bet we are on the cusp of something big. The recent Businessweek article “Silicon Valley Embraces Innovation In Sustainable Foods“, points to the example of Hampton Creek Foods, where a “staff of 19—armed with a combo of science degrees, chef experience, and food industry chops—are obsessing over eggs. What gives an egg—the result of a chicken menstrual cycle (eeww)—its unusual characteristics, and how can those characteristics be replaced with a combination of plants? The team has worked on more than 344 prototypes for their egg-yolk product and have studied 287 types of plants that range from peas to canola.” The article goes on to say “Hampton Creek Foods is just one of a new type of eco-food innovator that Silicon Valley is incubating. The company is backed by Sand Hill Road heavyweight Vinod Khosla’s firm, which is why Bill Gates—an investor in Khosla’s fund—gave Hampton’s muffins a taste test last year (and, by the way, couldn’t tell the difference between a muffin with eggs and a muffin with Beyond Eggs).” Bill Gates called the budding food innovation movement—which is making food more sustainable and also cheaper—a “huge thing” that “will confound the pessimists.”
The article goes on to talk about the broad base of this movement, the favorable economic and environmental impact it will have and why it’s attracting sophisticated investors. Definitely worth the read. Happily, the bottom line is that there is a growing and formidable force that will be challenging the continued efforts to keep us “hooked” on an unhealthy diet.
- Silicon Valley’s Fake Eggs Are Better Than the Real Thing (motherboard.vice.com)
- Are sustainable foods created in labs still food? (mnn.com)
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