Fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast – can’t you just smell them off the picture?
But these delicious eggs have nothing to do with a chicken – or any other bird. Their parents are mung beans, and their midwife is a California-based company called Just.
Well, if we can have eggs without chickens, can we have milk without cows? Meet the startup Perfect Day.
Perfect Day has developed a type of yeast that can produce dairy proteins (casein and whey). Given a “blueprint” in the form of DNA like that in cows, the yeast can ferment sugar and transform it into the actual dairy proteins! The fermentation process is similar to making beer from brewers’ yeast.
Note that this is not about milk substitutes like soy milk or coconut milk, but a food product identical in nutrition and taste to actual cow’s milk – only, produced without the cow. It can be used in dairy products like cheese, yogurt and ice cream, and is lactose-free.
But why bother with this new technology, when we’ve been getting eggs and milk from farm animals for thousands of years?
Here’s why. George Monbiot* says it clearly:
Whether human beings survive this century and the next, whether other lifeforms can live alongside us: more than anything, this depends on the way we eat. … Animal farming takes up 83% of the world’s agricultural land, but delivers only 18% of our calories. … We can neither feed the world’s growing population nor protect its living systems through animal farming. Meat and dairy are an extravagance we can no longer afford.
You can read the whole article here.
It’s hard to realize that the word’s human population has trebled in the last 75 years, and is still growing (albeit at a slower rate).
Protein production by fermentation produces far less greenhouse gas emissions, consumes far less water and needs far less land than animal-based food production.
But suppose you want to go easy on the planet’s resources and avoid contributing to climate change, but still have an irresistible craving for meat? Don’t lose hope! Just tells us,
Over the past year, we’ve started the early work of expanding our platform to solve the technical challenges of scalable clean meat. Clean meat and seafood are made from cells instead of live, confined animals.
Read more, here.
* George Monbiot is a columnist for The Guardian and an honorary member of Saving Our Planet.