There is a bold new food revolution starting in San Francisco, and this time it is almost all about protein. The sales in various animal protein products is worth about $200 billion in the United States alone but a new wave of faux meat products is on the horizon.
On top of the race to deliver new plant-based protein production methods, there are also other factors which make this a world-changing revolution. There is the problem of feeding 9.7 billion people around the world by 2050. Climate change is still an ever-present concern.
Current methods call for animal agriculture which follows the traditional model for industrial production. In order to keep up with the world population and the demand for meat, a change has to happen. Various startups such as Finless Foods are addressing this issue with plant-based non-traditional production which results in fake meat.
Calling the product “fake meat” misses the point. Researchers are aiming to come up with a plant based product which tastes like meat, has the same texture, and can be produced in a laboratory environment without the animal involved. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the goal is to produce bluefin tuna fillet look- and taste-alike, as well as milk, eggs, and poultry without the need for grazing land or feeds, for that matter.
Different startups have their own bold approaches and niches. Finless Foods is trying to create a tuna-like product. Impossible Foods is making plant-based hamburgers. Modern Meadow is trying to culture leather cells. Other labs are into the production of egg whites and collagen.
All of these new technology has been gravitating towards the Bay Area for two simple reasons. One is the availability of research institutions and scientists around San Francisco. Another reason is the funding for these companies have been coming from venture capitalists who are principally from the same area.
Venture capitalists, startup accelerators, and investors have made San Francisco the center of the new plant-meat revolution. This may seem ironic to some as San Francisco is also famous in the food industry as one of the areas that popularized farm-to-table cooking. This is a movement which has tried to bring fresh produce to home cooks allowing them to have the freshest ingredients, without the need for long logistical transport of food.
Big names in the IT industry are also involved with their own investment into these startups in the hope that they would be able to come up with a bold solution to impending problems of food production. Given the world’s limited and fast-depleting food supply, everyone’s hoping that the answers come soon.