There was a time in my life when I tried to go vegan. I gave up meat and turned to tofu and a lot of soybean based products in the hope to replace the meats with a more plant based and healthier option.
The tofu taste was disgusting to my sensitive palate and even now, the thought of its scent makes me very, very sad.
So imagine my amazement when I found out about Beyond Meat, the 2009 founded company that just won the 2018 Champions of the Earth Award, which is the UN’s highest accolade for the environment along with, Impossible Foods. Both are producers of revolutionary plant-based meats which are alternatives to beef.
What is even more interesting is that these plant-based meat alternatives are outperforming grass fed beef in the fast food arena around the world, including the USA and Canada.
This is great news for anyone who understands the need to preserve and nurture the Earth as livestock cultivation is responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
This is a distressing fact in and of itself as greenhouse gases are basically responsible for and the hole in the ozone layer and thus climate change.
With the advent of these plant based meat alternatives having proven to be sustainable choices, it means that being ecologically conscious no longer translates into giving up on taste and enjoyment.
“This proves that positive climate action can taste even better!” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment said. “Saving the planet requires something of a gastronomical rethink in some parts of the world, and Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods prove that this doesn’t mean our taste buds are making the sacrifice.”
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Impossible Foods Dr. Patrick O. Brown, explains that he knows that the big global problems are not the responsibility of someone else and agreed that in order to save the planet, it would be important to pleasantly appeal to the world’s tastebuds.
“This problem wasn’t going to be solved by pleading with consumers to eat beans and tofu instead of meat and fish. And it wouldn’t be enough just to find a better way to make meat; to succeed we would need to make the best meat in the world.”
The vegan meats by these companies have already outperformed grass-fed beef burgers by at least 40% at Luna Grill, and were sold out at Taco Bell in the USA, as well as at A&W locations in Canada and was recently added to a burger chain in Italy, called ‘WellDone’.
So how can a vegan meat switch really make any difference? Is it just because it tastes better?
Well not only has many reported that the vegan burgers actually still taste like burgers, but this seemingly simple food choice equates to a greener world.
Americans switching from beef to plant-based patties would be the equivalent of taking 12 million cars off the road for an entire year–or saving enough electricity to power 2.3 million homes.
A study coming out of the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, which conducted a ‘cradle- to- distribution’ life cycle assessment of the popular vegan burger, discovered that the Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use than a quarter pound of U.S. beef. That means a 41-square-foot plot of land can produce just one beef burger for every 15 Beyond Burgers.