‘Eclipse, the Impossible Burger of dairy, is a plant-based product that’s nearly identical to milk’

Alix Wall for Berkeleyside:

Eclipse Foods is a start-up that makes a plant-based dairy alternative. It was founded in Berkeley by Aylon Steinhart, a former business advisor at the Good Food Institute who focused on innovative plant-based foods and Thomas Bowman, an award-winning chef and food scientist who developed the plant-based JUST mayonnaise. […] And it has positioned itself as “The Impossible Burger of dairy.”

“With the technology behind Eclipse, we’ve created a milk that functions like cow’s milk,” said Steinhart, a Cal graduate. “In the same way you’d use dairy milk to make sour cream, cheese or ice cream, you can make those same products with the taste, texture and functionality of the animal counterpart.” […]

So far, the company has entered the market with ice cream only, with plans to roll out cheeses and other products next year. 

I may not be looking forward to seeing the “Impossible of X” branded on everything in the next few years, but I am excited about all the products.

‘The Future of Recycling Is Sanitation Workers Rejecting Your Bin’

Leslie Kaufman for Bloomberg Green:

The team tags the trash prominently with an OOPS label reminiscent of a hotel “do not disturb” sign. It has two purposes. The first is to lightheartedly explain to the owners what they’ve done wrong. The tag includes illustrations of most common forbidden categories, such as plastic bags. The second is to tell the recycling trucks not to pick up. Residents either fix the problem or forgo service.

“Zero tolerance brings the quickest compliance,” says Cecilia Shutters, the technical adviser for Feet on the Street, the program Atlanta is using to corral its residents into better recycling behavior.

Deliberately rejecting recycling might sound like a rough tactic, but for city recycling programs these are desperate times. For about two decades, the U.S. and most of the world sent much of its dirtiest recycling to China, where cheap labor sorted through the mess extracting valuables and dumping the rest. But in 2017, China severely tightened rules for taking contaminated trash.

The fallout has been dramatic. Five years ago, China took 40% of America’s recyclables, according to the National Waste and Recycling Association, a Washington, D.C. area-based industry advocacy group. Now almost none of it goes to China.

Americans and their recycling programs are going to have to evolve following the loss of China. We’re years, if not decades, behind because of our dependence on them — and now that they’re not taking anymore, we’re drowning.

“Look, the way we’ve taught people to recycle is horrendous,” says Susan Collins, executive director of the Container Recycling Institute, a California nonprofit group. “No other country does it like this.” In Japan, some towns demand that residents sort trash into 45 separate categories, including separate bins for pillows and toothbrushes.

We need to take more baby steps soon. We’re not ready for 45 separate categories, but we have to start somewhere.

‘Personalized nutrition could be the next plant-based meat, worth $64 billion by 2040, says UBS’

Maggie Fitzgerald for CNBC:

Imagine receiving customized nutrition advice based on your personal biologic or genetic profile. That’s the “future of food,” according to a UBS analyst, who sees diet personalization as the next plant-based meat.

Personalized nutrition could generate annual revenues as high as $64 billion by 2040, the firm said. […]

UBS said it sees four major industries capitalizing on this opportunity: Medical diagnosis firms to extract and interpret test results; Technology companies to develop wearable tech and integrated platforms for users to receive ongoing interactive feedback; Food producers to meet nutritional demand; And, food delivery companies to meet consumers’ increasing demand for convenience.

My dream is to readily and easily be able to understand if I’m getting all the things I need. I have no idea how a smartwatch or phone could discern that, but I’d love to see it happen. Now, my fingers will be crossed until 2040.

‘A bacon-scented patch has been developed to help people go vegan’

A patch infused with the scent of bacon has been developed by Oxford University scientists to help people with their meat cravings when they go vegan or vegetarian.

It’s similar to the size of a nicotine patch and has a drawing of a red cross through two rashers of bacon on it.

The idea is for vegans and vegetarians to scratch it when they’re eating to release the smell of bacon.

Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, believes it will help people to “imagine” they’re eating bacon even when they’re not.


‘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.

‘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.

‘For tech-weary Midwest farmers, 40-year-old tractors now a hot commodity’

Adam Belz for the Star Tribune:

Kris Folland grows corn, wheat and soybeans and raises cattle on 2,000 acres near Halma in the northwest corner of Minnesota, so his operation is far from small. But when he last bought a new tractor, he opted for an old one — a 1979 John Deere 4440.

He retrofitted it with automatic steering guided by satellite, and he and his kids can use the tractor to feed cows, plant fields and run a grain auger. The best thing? The tractor cost $18,000, compared to upward of $150,000 for a new tractor. And Folland doesn’t need a computer to repair it.

If you haven’t heard about what farmers are doing to avoid the hell that is a modern John Deere tractor, this story is a good place to start. And this Vice video and story is informative too.

‘Impossible Foods Debuts Its First Plant-Based Pork Products’

Deena Shanker for Bloomberg:

Impossible Foods Inc., maker of the eponymous “bleeding” soy-based burger, is debuting two faux-meat products at CES in Las Vegas: Impossible Pork and Impossible Sausage, ramping up the rivalry with Beyond Meat Inc.

Impossible, based in Silicon Valley, plans to give away about 25,000 samples at the consumer electronics show this week, and its sausage will be rolled out starting in late January at 139 Burger King locations in five test markets.

Hello, Asia and the morning breakfast community!

I’m not surprised that pork was the next product. It’s similar to beef in certain ways. Nothing happens easily though and I assuming making this product wasn’t a stroll through the park, but I’d bet it was much easier to make than beef was initially.

With the Impossible burger, it debuted in very select restaurants across the America. It’s fascinating that in America for their pork product, they’re opening with a limited amount of Burger King locations.

I’m still hoping we’ll see a fish replacement in the next year or two. But that’s nothing like beef or pork.

‘A Tiny Tweak to Sugar Is About to Make the World’s Sweets a Lot Healthier’

Chase Purdy for Quartz:

The surprising truth about cake is that it’s astonishingly inefficient.

So are lollipops, pies, sticks of gum, and cookies, each an imperfect vehicle used to deliver the sweet sensation people crave. And these foods are loaded with sugar. Lots of it. The average slice of white cake with no frosting contains about 26 grams, the recommended maximum health experts say most people should eat in one day. In reality, though, the average American eats about five timesthat amount; Germans four times; and Canadians consume a little more than three times the daily recommendation.

Part of the problem can be chocked up to willpower, sure. But a lot of it is also molecular.

In order to enjoy the sensation of sweetness, sugar molecules have to land on our sweet-tasting receptors, most of which sit on the tip of the tongue. But sugar is notoriously bad at actually hitting those receptors, so bad that only 20 percent actually makes it, the rest washing down our gullets and into the digestive system. This is one reason why many foods contain so much sugar. It’s also why a lot of food companies, in spite of their efforts, have found it difficult—even impossible—to reduce the amount of added sugar in their products while also maintaining the tastes people expect.

But a startup headquartered near Tel Aviv, Israel has developed a super-tiny method that may have cracked what has been an impossible code. In doing so, it sits on the cusp of changing the landscape of food manufacturing by making sugar so efficient that food companies can use 40 percent less while keeping tastes the same.

They’re saying this isn’t an artificial sweetener, but rather a sweeter version of sugar — and thus uses less. Hallelujah! Let’s hope we see it more and more in the coming years.

‘Despite All the Buzz Around Fake Meat, Real Stuff Still Pays Off’

Lydia Mulvany and Deena Shanker for Bloomberg:

Imitation meat may be all the rage at the moment, but producers of the real stuff are doing just fine.

Sure, vegan burger maker Beyond Meat Inc. stole the headlines this year with a wildly successful market debut and a dizzying 200% gain. But conventional beef companies Minerva SA and JBS SA aren’t too far behind. Even U.S. meat suppliers like Tyson Foods Inc., hamstrung by the China trade war, have posted their biggest stock gains in years.

For as big of a year as Beyond, Impossible, and every other vegan company had in 2019, we need to remember that it’s currently only a drop in the pond. We’re still David to their Goliath, and our David is a pacifist.