Many vegans and environmentalists believe that eating meat and animal products are too carbon-intensive and therefore bad for the environment. Special freezer sections filled with meat alternatives are popping up in grocery stores across the country. Restaurants offer it on their menus and you can even order direct from some companies and receive a shipment every month. You can thank some Silicon Valley technocrats for that. As reported by Financial Times, they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in start-ups that specialize in the manufacturing of "future food."
Critics say that not only are these investors misguided in their choice to ignore the horrendous conditions that animals are subjected to in the meat industry, their new products are full of GMOs, herbicides like glyphosate, and chemicals. Their position is that this type of lab-produced "food" is actually worse than the meat currently being produced and sold.
Whether or not the detractors' claims are true, the "future food" industry shows no signs of slowing down. Los Angeles-based The Soylent Company has a rough start with products that made consumers violently ill. While they claim that no toxins were found in their products, they have no problem boasting that their primary ingredient is GMO soy. The Soylent Company has racked in earnings upwards of $20 million.
Impossible Foods manufacturers plant-based burgers offered at upscale restaurants in California and New York. Their vision is to turn plants into products that are healthier versions of meat. Their ingredients list boasts potatoes, wheat, and coconut oil. According to founder Pat Brown, Impossible Foods has the advantage of being able to improve "every aspect of [meatless meat]."
In San Francisco, Memphis Meats has taken a completely different approach to solving the meat manufacturing problem. On their website, they explain, "Like most Americans, we don’t love the many negative side effects of conventional meat production: environmental degradation, a slew of health risks, animal suffering and food products that contain fecal matter, pathogens and other contaminants." Memphis Meats are actually grown in a lab. Referring to themselves as cell farmers, they cultivate meat using real animal cells. Co-founder and CEO Uma Valeti is determined to, "to remove animals from the equation altogether.”
While making changes in your diet can go a long way in improving your health, you must have a solid plan for replacing your proteins if you decide to go meat-free. And if you are thinking about trying some of these "future foods," do your research. Since you are what you eat, you might become a GMO-filled, herbicide-laden, chemically-packed, cell-farmed individual. Glyphosate, anyone?