‘Half of Us Face Obesity, Dire Projections Show’

Jane E. Brody for the NYTimes:

A prestigious team of medical scientists has projected that by 2030, nearly one in two adults will be obese, and nearly one in four will be severely obese. The estimates are thought to be particularly reliable, as the team corrected for current underestimates of weight given by individuals in national surveys. In as many as 29 states, the prevalence of obesity will exceed 50 percent, with no state having less than 35 percent of residents who are obese, they predicted.

Likewise, the team projected, in 25 states the prevalence of severe obesity will be higher than one adult in four, and severe obesity will become the most common weight category among women, non-Hispanic black adults and low-income adults nationally.

Add this to the pile of future problems with no easy fix. Things on America’s current To-Do list: teach cooking basics, raise wages enough so that people can afford to purchase healthy food, also raise wages enough so that people don’t have to work all the time and can make time to *make* food, stop subsidizing unhealthy food, and make school lunches healthier.

The worst part is I’m sure I’m forgetting things too. But we have to keep trying. It only improves if we continue to focus on them as a society—but sadly I think it all really begins and ends with regulation and our government.

‘CEO of Burger King owner: ‘We are all in’ on plant-based foods’

Brian Sozzi for Yahoo! Finance:

“I think it’s just the beginning. It’s a brand new category, it’s a category we are leading not just in the U.S. but globally,” Cil told Yahoo Finance fresh off the company’s fourth quarter earnings call Monday. “And we think there is a lot of work to do still in terms of raising awareness, what are the benefits of it and then being able to offer some different products as well as occasions so that the consumer could expand their knowledge of the product. We are all in.” […]

Meanwhile, Burger King’s fourth quarter same-store sales rose 2.8%. Same-store sales for the chain rose 0.6% in the U.S. and 4.7% in the rest of the world. Burger King’s same-store sales increased 4.8% in the third quarter.

If you have a fast food chain and aren’t copying this, you’re losing free money.

‘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.

‘Burger King Says It Never Promised Impossible Whoppers Were Vegan’

Burger King, saying it never billed its “Impossible Whoppers” as vegan or promised to cook them a particular way, said a proposed class action by a vegan customer over the plant-based patties being cooked on the same grills as meat burgers should be thrown out.

In a court filing on Thursday, Burger King said plaintiff Phillip Williams should have asked how Impossible Whoppers were cooked before ordering one that he said was “coated in meat by-products” at an Atlanta drive-through.

Burger King said reasonable customers would ask about its cooking methods, and Williams would have known he could request an alternative method had he done even “the smallest amount of investigation” on its website or by reading media reports.

I wondered what BK’s angle would be, and I think this how most restaurants will handle vegan products moving forward. No one will call dishes that have vegan ingredients “vegan” anymore. They’ll either call items “plant-based” or they actually won’t say either. By not using both, they’re free to avoid this hub-bub — but it means it’ll be harder for all vegans to actually spot the vegan items. Bummer. I hope that’s not the case.


Anna Starostinetskaya for VegNews:

Prior to January, Veganuary estimated that 350,000 people would pledge to go vegan this year—which would save one million animals from slaughter, according to research carried out by University of Oxford researcher James Poore.More than 400,000 people pledged to go vegan in January as part of the Veganuary campaign—a sharp increase from last year’s 250,310 pledges. […]

Prior to January, Veganuary estimated that 350,000 people would pledge to go vegan this year—which would save one million animals from slaughter, according to research carried out by University of Oxford researcher James Poore.

‘Tim Hortons Customers Didn’t Warm Up to Plant-Based Meat’

Rich Duprey for the Motley Fool:

Restaurant Brands International may be losing its appetite for plant-based meat, recently confirming it had pulled the last of Beyond Meat’s faux-meat products from its Tim Hortons chain.

Only months after rolling out the faux-meat breakfast sausage and then burger patties to the coffee shop’s 4,000 restaurants, it pulled the items from all of its restaurants except those in British Columbia and Ontario in September, and now says it’s yanking them from those locations as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where plant-based meat products work. I had assumed these would be welcomed wherever they went, but for certain markets maybe it doesn’t make sense. I wonder what went wrong here.

‘Banish ‘Eat Local’ From Your Environmental Playbook’

Akshat Rathi for Bloomberg Green:

For beef from herds grown for meat, transport makes up only an average of 0.5% of its emissions. Each kilogram of beef produces 60 kg of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions (CO2e), the majority of which comes from the methane that cows belch when alive.

Across the complete supply chain, each kilogram of avocados produces 2.5 kg of CO2e emissions. Of that, transport costs are less than 10%. Importing Mexican avocados to the UK generates 0.21 kg of CO2e.

Such is beef’s carbon impact that, in the US, a consumer who eats vegetables instead of one day’s worth of beef calories would have a greater impact on reducing emissions than buying all food from local sources, according to a 2008 study. […]

The real takeaway from the research is that 1 kg of animal-based foods generate between 10 times and 50 times as much greenhouse-gas impact as plant-based products.

I can’t believe how little eating local factors into emissions, but this is staggering.

In an analysis published last week, Ritchie finds that transport’s contribution to any food’s overall carbon footprint is tiny. “For most food products, it accounts for less than 10%” Ritchie concluded, based on data collected from 38,000 commercial farms in 119 countries.

It really is about WHAT you eat, not HOW it gets to you.

‘Almonds are out. Dairy is a disaster. So what milk should we drink?’

From The Guardian, the intro from Annette McGivney says it all:

For environmentally minded consumers, the news is hard to swallow: almond milk is not healthy for the planet and the popular milk substitute is especially hard on bees. Our recent investigation into the connection between California’s industrialized almond industry and a record 50bn commercial bee deaths created quite a buzz. The widely read story prompted one primary response from readers: “What should we be drinking instead?”

This is a thorny question, and food sustainability experts are reluctant to single out any one plant milk as best because all have pros and cons.

But we’re going to try.

One thing is clear. All milk alternatives are far better for the planet than dairy. A 2018 study by researchers at the University of Oxford showed that producing a glass of dairy milk results in almost three times more greenhouse gas emissions than any plant-based milk and it consumes nine times more land than any of the milk alternatives. (Land is required to pasture the cows and grow their feed, which the animals belch out in the form of methane.)

This article has a great milk-by-milk breakdown of how the alternatives are made and what they are doing to our climate.

‘Federal judge declares Kansas “ag-gag” law unconstitutional’

From The Counter:

Last Wednesday, a federal judge declared unconstitutional a Kansas law that criminalizes the secret filming of slaughterhouse facilities, The Wichita Eagle reports. The ruling stems from a December 2018 lawsuit filed by a coalition of animal welfare activists, who argued that state’s “ag-gag” law, which was enacted in 1990, violated the First Amendment. In her ruling, the judge noted that the law “discriminates based on viewpoint.”

I wonder what Big Meat is afraid people might see.