‘The fastest-growing vegan demographic is African Americans. Wu-Tang Clan and other hip-hop acts paved the way.’

Laura Reiley for the Washington Post:

A 2016 Pew Research Center survey found 3 percent of American adults overall identified as vegan and only 1 percent of Hispanic Americans. That number jumps to a startling 8 percent among African American adults. In Gallup’s latest findings on consumers’ meat-eating changes, which will be published Monday, whites reported eating 10 percent less meat in the past 12 months while people of color reported eating 31 percent less.

I think this is spot on. And I think rappers being vocal about it has shifted the conversations and connections within their communities.

‘Bloomberg Data Dash: A Live Climate Scoreboard for the World’

These are the numbers that matter. A difficult global transition is happening right now, away from fossil fuels, deforestation, greenhouse-gas pollution and melting ice. It can be measured with precision and clarity. The processes described by this data dashboard are occurring on a planetary scale, and yet our progress can be measured this minute, in parts per million, in metric tons, in fractions of a degree. This is Bloomberg Green’s guide to the worldwide goal of slowing and stopping warming temperatures. This is a record of how far we have to go, and a tool to assess how much we can change.

An interesting guide to measuring what’s happening on earth and part of their new, more environmentally-focused side Bloomberg Green.

‘“Breaking our back”: Food banks are drowning in milk China won’t buy’

H. Claire Brown for the New Food Economy:

Across the nation, food banks are struggling to distribute food purchased through the government’s Trade Mitigation Program, more commonly known as the farm bailout program. This is the money President Trump appropriated—without input from Congress—to blunt the impact of his trade war with China. The bulk of the $12 billion in funding has gone to farmers in the form of direct payments to reimburse them for income lost because of retaliatory tariffs. But more than $1 billion was reserved to purchase actual food that may otherwise have been sold to trading partners. At wholesale prices, $1 billion buys a heck of a lot of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat. Most of those purchases are funneled to local food banks like Care and Share, which aren’t accustomed to dealing with deliveries of perishable items. One official privately confessed that all the extra food is “breaking our back.”

I wonder if our government will ever spend as much money on vegetables as it does on milk.

‘NEW LOBBY GROUP LAUNCHES TO ADVANCE THE PLANT-BASED INDUSTRY IN CALIFORNIA’

Anna Starostinetskaya for VegNews:

This week, new advocacy group California Plant Based Alliance (CPBA) formed in Sacramento with the mission of advancing the interests of the plant-based industry in the state’s legislature. CPBA—the first state-level plant-based advocacy group in the country—was founded by Julie Manusco, founder of animal-advocacy organization Social Compassion in Legislation[.] […] In 2016, lobby group Plant Based Food Association (PBFA)—which currently has more than 160 company members—formed to represent the interests of the plant-based industry on a federal level.

I’m interested in seeing how this group will affect the larger Plant Based Food Association. This new group is at the state-level, while the other is at the federal. It might be interesting to see if they’re able to essentially use California as a testing ground for legal arguments before they move to the national level.

‘Pledging to Go Vegan, at Least for January’

Alyson Krueger for the NYTimes:

Move over Dry January (abstaining from alcohol) and Whole30 (no processed or refined foods). Veganuary, which asks people to ditch meat this month, has emerged as this year’s trendy resolution.

The campaign was started in the United Kingdom in 2014 by Jane Land and Matthew Glover, a husband-and-wife team who met on a vegan dating site and were inspired by Movember (growing a mustache for men’s health). Participants who pledge to go vegan on the site receive daily recipes, tips and information about how a vegan diet benefits animals, the environment and our bodies.

According to Veganuary, 750,000 people from 192 countries have joined the pledge, with about half signing up for 2020.

It’s easy to forget that things like Veganuary started with people who had an idea. When things appear around me and feel fully formed, it seems like they just fell out of the sky and occurred. But I love learning their names. Thank you, Jane Land and Matthew Glover. You’ve done a good thing.

‘Vegans Trigger Rethink at No. 1 Maker of Cheese Cultures’

Andrew Marc Noel for Bloomberg:

The world’s biggest supplier of the bacteria that turn milk into cheese is adjusting its production to acknowledge that veganism isn’t just a passing fad.

Chr. Hansen A/S, which is based north of Copenhagen, is preparing for a slowdown in the market for dairy-milk products and plowing more funds into cultures used to ferment plant-based alternatives such as yogurt made from almonds, coconuts and oats.

If this makes vegan cheese plates more accessible and more frequent in my life, I like it.

‘Nestle Adds Plant-Based Sausages to Menu Amid Faux Meat Race’

Corinne Gretler for Bloomberg:

The KitKat maker will start selling a pea protein-based sausage in the U.S. and a soy-based version in Europe this spring, the company said.

This is the first time I’ve heard of the same product being sold with different proteins in different locations. Is this only because of American’s fear of soy? Those have been debunked.

And I saw this tidbit, which is great news:

Nestle is also developing plant-based tuna for its first fish substitute, Chief Technology Officer Stefan Palzer said. The tuna product could be added to pizza, sushi or served as a patty, he added.

But who on earth is adding tuna to pizza? What are you talking about, Mr. Palzer?

‘Netherlands backs nutritional labeling: ‘Nutri-Score is best to promote healthy choices’’

Nutri-Score is new to me, but I’ve been hoping we’d start seeing a food-rating system that could be used to determine the general nutrition of things going into our body. This is how it works…

The health secretary said this news was a ‘major step’ towards empowering citizens to make better dietary choices.

In recent months, Dutch health authorities have conducted research into three different food selection logos: Keyhole, Traffic Lights and Nutri-Score. It found consumers ‘understand Nutri-Score best’.

The score awarded a food is based on the amount of calories, sugars, saturated fat, salt, protein, fibre, fruit, vegetables, legumes and nuts in the product.

NutriScore ranks foods from -15 for the ‘healthiest’ products to +40 for those that are ‘less healthy’. On the basis of this score, the product receives a letter with a corresponding colour code: from dark green (A) to dark red (F).

It’s currently in use or recommended by France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Austria. It’s a great start, and I hope it moves to the USA soon.

‘The Next Big Thing From Korea Isn’t KPOP, But Plant-Based Meat Unlimeat’

Unlike other plant-based meat, which is found mostly in the form of hamburger patties, Unlimeat comes in the form of thinly sliced fillets. […] Created from “ugly produce” that is often discarded, the company spent many years developing and cultivating a sustainable, alternative-meat product. 

As the world gets flooded by vegan burgers made by beef companies, it’s nice to see a product with a new utility. I’m ready to go eat some Korean BBQ with friends.

‘The Best Way to Hack Your Lunch Salad, According to 11 Food Experts’

Lots of great tips here in this Grub Street piece. I like Garrison Price’s:

“If I’m hungry and pressed for time after a workout, my go-to is usually Sweetgreen. My own salad concoctions revolve around arugula (spicy), romaine (crunchy), raw beets (high in folate), broccoli (anti-inflammatory), sunflower seeds (vitamin E), almonds (biotin), avocado (B5), and spicy cashew dressing (healthy fat). I’m obsessed with seeds and nuts because they are good for you and filling, but also add great texture to the salad.”

Texture is king in a salad, and I feel like most places leave the croutons to bear the burden. I think seeds and nuts are crucial, and second only to the dressing. I usually add hummus to thicken mine up and give it a bit more body too.