How the Netherlands became a plant-based protein powerhouse

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What can the U.S. learn from how the Dutch are growing their fake meat sector? Though small in land area, the Netherlands is a big player in the global food industry. Though it’s less than half the size of North Carolina, the country is the second-largest agricultural exporter—of things such as potatoes, onions, and vegetable seeds —in the world by dollar value, behind only the U.S. And lately, the Netherlands has been focusing not only on how to feed the world with plants, but how to feed the world with plant-based proteins. Read Full Story

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This company is introducing plant-based protein to a meat-loving nation

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After the U.S., Brazil is the number-two country for meat consumption, but many people are increasingly concerned about health and sustainability. Fazenda Futuro—a winner of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards—is addressing that demand. When it comes to plant-based meats, Fazenda Futuro may not be a household name in the U.S. like Impossible or Beyond Meats, but in its native Brazil, it now holds a large chunk of the plant-based market share, producing 130 to 150 tons of that imitation meat every month. “For us, it’s like our obligation, because Brazil has the second-largest meat consumption in the world,” says Marcos Leta, the founder of Fazenda Futuro, which translates to “Future Farm,” and which is the winner of the Latin America regional category in Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards. Read Full Story

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The surprising reason tobacco plants could solve one of the COVID-19 vaccine’s biggest hurdles

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In the race to manufacture billions of doses of vaccines, could plants be a secret ingredient? For the past 80 years, eggs have been a main ingredient in vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, the flu, and others. Typically, modified genetic material from a virus is inserted into an egg’s proteins, and those proteins are then introduced into the human body to “teach” it an immune response. But since each egg must be modified individually, the lag time for egg-based vaccines can literally be a killer. In the U.S., for example, the CDC must predict in January what strains of the flu will erupt nearly a year later, to give drugmakers time to manufacture enough inoculations. A handful of companies, however, are pioneering vaccines developed in plants, which can be grown and treated in bulk. Using a cousin of the tobacco plant ( nicotiana benthamiana ), biomedical companies Kentucky …

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These plant-based steaks come out of a 3D printer

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Plant-based burgers are one thing, but a fake steak that can convince meat eaters is a much harder accomplishment. Redefine Meat thinks it’s figured it out. Inside a lab in Rehovot, Israel, a 3D printer the size of an industrial refrigerator is busy printing plant-based steaks. Redefine Meat , the startup that developed the technology, sees it as the next step for the world of alternative protein: If companies like Impossible Foods have created plant-based burgers that are meaty enough to tempt omnivores, now the industry wants options for realistic whole cuts of faux meat. Read Full Story

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The newest fake meat startup wants to make the ‘world’s favorite protein’ a plant, not a bird

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The plant-based chicken company Daring is going after the chicken industry—with new investment help from a meat powerhouse. “How much chicken do you get in one order?” I ask Ross Mackay, before it took a solid beat for me to register that his product, of course, is not chicken. It is, in fact, the anti-chicken. As the marketing materials boldly state, it’s “1000% not chicken.” Read Full Story

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Venus Williams has channeled her vegan diet into a plant-based food company

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Nearly a decade after going vegan following a health crisis, the tennis champion is launching Happy Viking, which makes energizing protein shakes. In 2011, Venus Williams was exhausted. The Grand Slam-winning tennis champion found herself out of breath and constantly tired. She was forced to pull out of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship, and for the first time since 1996 she was no longer ranked among the top 100 professional women tennis players in the world. It was then that a doctor diagnosed her with Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune condition that causes dry eye and dry mouth, as well as fatigue. Suddenly, everything made sense. Read Full Story

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This vegan cheese tastes like cheese because it’s made with milk proteins (in a lab)

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Remilk uses bacteria to grow casein—one of the key ingredients in cheese—letting it make the real thing without involving any cows. If plant-based milk has become mainstream—the category is now a $2 billion market in the U.S.—the same can’t be said for vegan cheese. While several startups are working on the problem, it’s challenging to replicate the taste and texture of cheese made from cow milk, and plant-based alternatives struggle to avoid a plastic-like texture and bland taste. Read Full Story

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Plant-based meat sales exploded during the pandemic. Here’s how to keep consumers coming back

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Four in five consumers say sustainability matters, but taste and health both rate higher. During the early stage of the pandemic, consumers had trouble buying meat as food processing facilities shut temporarily to slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, consumers turned to plant-based alternatives for protein in home-cooked meals. Many were first-time buyers. As a result, for a two-week period in March, plant-based meat sales grew 148% . Nielsen also reported that sales of all alternative meat products rose 264% in the nine weeks ending May 2. Read Full Story

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