Tag Archives: Bill Gates

Not your father’s veggie burger

Veggie burgers ain’t what (and where) they used to be. The food industry has been making one innovation after the other and spreading the availability of veggie burgers far and wide, including some unexpected places.

McVegan

The new McVegan

A few days ago, news broke that rocked the veggie burger landscape: McDonald’s, yes McDonald’s, is testing a vegan burger. Meet the McVegan. Hoping to quietly test the McVegan away from the attention of the American public, McDonald’s went to a far away, really far away, place, Finland. Yup! the future of the new McDonald’s vegan burger is in the hands of the Finns. But don’t worry, they won’t let us down. The new McVegan is already getting rave reviews. If the test goes well, we may just find the new vegan burger right here at home.

Impossible cheeseburger

The Impossible Burger

 

Meanwhile, when the good people at Impossible Foods said they were going to make a veggie burger so realistic it will bleed and even char just like a juicy hamburger, many people said that’s “impossible.”  But they’ve done it, and it is quickly being made available around the country. The burger contains no animal fat, yet the flavor profile mimics that of 80/20 ground beef. Before it’s seasoned and layered with toppings, a nearly three-ounce patty clocks in at 220 calories and costs $13 – a little pricey but the price has been coming down.

Many people see a very profitable future for the new Impossible Burger. That’s why Impossible Foods secured $80 million over five years to develop the product that was later backed by Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures. The Impossible Burger is not yet available here in Washington but it’s getting close. The Impossible Burger is available in St. Helena in northern California. Because they use no animal products, the Impossible Burger uses a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources. Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And of course, no animals were hurt in the making of these burgers!

What a Year for the Veg World!

FireworksWhat a year 2013 was for the veg world! In fact, it’s hard to come up with a more significant year for the vegetarian movement in the last 100 years or more.

We saw Al Gore become the first ever Vice President to go vegan. As one of the leaders of the environmental movement, the significance of this can hardly be overstated considering how resistant many environmentalists have been. The first ever Vegetarian Caucus in Congress was founded, and has been growing by leaps and bounds all year. With interest from the newly elected vegetarian senator Cory Booker, it shows ever-increasing promise for further growth.

The first ever leader of a major global hunger relief agency, Bill Gates of the Gates foundation, came out in favor of the vegan diet as the long-term sustainable answer to the persistent problem of global hunger.

The first all vegetarian public school opened in New York City. Reports later showed improved test scores and health of the students. Though they may have had mixed motivations, we even saw the first ever all vegetarian jail system begin in Arizona.

Health Insurance company, Kaiser Permanente, broke new ground in sending an advisory to all its doctors to advise their patients of the health advantages of the vegetarian diet. In addition, a major breakthrough happened showing how the meat-centered diet fuels breast cancer. Almost as significant, at the end of the year was major research showing the connection between diet and Alzheimer’s disease. We’ll be reporting on these advances, showing the health advantages of the veg diet soon.

The first ever head of state, Benjamin Netanyahu, endorsed meatless Mondays. And, not to be outdone, in Norway the first ever military and NATO member began Meatless Mondays as well.

On the product front we saw the introduction of “hyper-real” meat analogues, plus the development of synthetic eggs so real that no one can tell the difference. While we’re still not sure how we feel about this, the first ever stem-cell grown “meat” was produced.

Meanwhile, public interest in the vegetarian way grows and grows. Hardly a month goes by without another Hollywood celeb or musician jumping on board. In the faith-based community, the influential pastor and author, Rick Warren, jumped on board the vegetarian band wagon with the Daniel Plan diet.

We look forward to 2014 with growing hope and excitement as the veg message gains more and more traction. Happy New Year to one and all.

Gates Gets It!

Bill GatesAdd Microsoft founder and noted philanthropist, Bill Gates, to the list of leaders who understand that we can’t feed a growing and hungry population, in an environmentally sustainable way, on a meat-centered diet, especially when diet-related diseases now top the list worldwide.

According to Bill Gates, “meat consumption worldwide has doubled in the last 20 years. By 2030, the world will need millions of tons more meat than it does today. But raising meat takes a great deal of land and water and has a substantial environmental impact.” Gates cites the UN figures on the expected growth of meat (see chart).

Chart of Growth in Production to 2030 - side by side, new labels

So what’s his solution? Companies that produce vegan meats. Products that are delicious but that don’t use any animal products. Gates writes, “Put simply, there’s no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people. We need more options for producing meat without depleting our resources. Over the past few years, I’ve come across a few companies that are doing pioneering work on innovations that give a glimpse into possible solutions. To be sure, it’s still very early, but the work these companies are doing makes me optimistic. I wanted to share with you a look at their work on creating alternatives to meat and eggs that are just as healthful, are produced more sustainably, and taste great.”

Gates says “fake meats get real” and writes about two companies in particular, “Food scientists are creating healthful plant-based alternatives that taste just like eggs, chicken, and other sources of protein. Companies like Beyond Meat and Hampton Creek Foods are experimenting with new ways to use heat and pressure to turn plants into foods that look and taste just like meat and eggs. I tasted Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative and was impressed. I couldn’t tell the difference between Beyond Meat and real chicken. Beyond Eggs, Hampton Creek Foods’ egg substitute, doesn’t contain the high cholesterol of real eggs.” Entrepreneurs take note that Gates considers fake meats a “big market opportunity.”

Gates’ foundation has also completed a major global study documenting various diseases. “Researchers released the results of a five-year project—funded by our foundation—to assess the prevalence of diseases, injuries and risk factors in 187 countries over a 20 year period—from 1990 to 2010. Known as the Global Burden of Disease 2010 (GBD), it is the most comprehensive study of its kind, and incorporates the work of hundreds of public health experts.” This study showed that along with the increase in global meat consumption comes an increase in diet-related diseases. For instance heart disease now tops the list of the most common diseases world-wide while stroke has moved to the number 3 position. Diabetes has also moved way up on the list.

The message seems clear. Plant foods constitute the most sustainable and healthy future of food. To take part in this cutting edge trend, you need no special technology or billions of dollars. Healthy eating is as close as your kitchen and natural food store and Vegetarians of Washington is here to help!