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Science

PLANT FORWARD: Pushing the boundaries of plant-based innovation

DONNA BERRY: New brands and styles of meat and dairy alternatives continue to steal retail space from the animal-based products they try to simulate. This is due to advancements in ingredient technology to deliver cleaner, simpler and more authentic analogs. “Consumers are attracted to many of the attributes associated with products made with plant proteins, but taste still drives repeat purchase,” said Melissa Machen, senior technical services specialist – plant protein, Cargill, Minneapolis. “Emerging plant proteins can bring along flavor issues, including astringency and bitterness. Even…

BEE FREE: Israeli company to save bees from extinction while producing pure honey

SHANI ASHKENAZI: When Efrat and Ofir Dvash were children in Moshav Hatzav in Israel's south, their father grew tomatoes in the family greenhouse. The siblings had a special role: they were the bees. Because the tomatoes were being raised in a closed, humid greenhouse, there was nothing to pollinate the flowers and induce growth. So, brother and sister would run through the rows and shake the plants. Today, some three decades later, they have taken this childhood pastime countless steps forward... Israeli family foodtech company Bee-io seeks to save the bees we need from extinction while…

WITHOUT CONSENT: Why we should stop using animal-derived products on patients without their consent

DANIEL RODGER: Medicines and medical devices containing animal-derived ingredients are frequently used on patients without their informed consent, despite a significant proportion of patients wanting to know if an animal-derived product is going to be used in their care. Here, I outline three arguments for why this practice is wrong. First, I argue that using animal-derived medical products on patients without their informed consent undermines respect for their autonomy. Second, it risks causing nontrivial psychological harm. Third, it is morally inconsistent to respect patients’ dietary…

FAMILIAR SOURCE: Cargill to launch corn protein isolates for plant-based meat formulation

ELAINE WATSON: Cargill will have commercial quantities of Non-GMO corn protein isolate - “a new protein from a familiar source” - available by late 2022 as it seeks to capitalize on growing demand for plant-based proteins, say execs, who are evaluating manufacturing locations for the ingredient. Cargill... has been researching corn protein for a while, Melissa Machen, said protein senior technical services specialist... While some companies produce zein, a water-insoluble protein called prolamin that's extracted from corn and can form edible lms used in confectionery and other products,…

UNSUSTAINABLE HYPOCRISY: United Nations now says livestock-based diets key to tackling global malnutrition crisis

HUAXIA: Sustainable consumption of livestock-based diets including meat, eggs, and milk should be prioritized in order to combat malnutrition affecting pregnant mothers and children in low-income countries, UN Nutrition said in a new report launched in Nairobi... Titled "Livestock-Derived Foods and Sustainable Healthy Diets," the report says that resource-constrained households should be encouraged to consume animal-based proteins in order to reduce undernourishment and stunting... It says that plant-based diets alone are not enough to eliminate the global malnutrition crisis, which…

STUDY: Taste alone won’t persuade Americans to swap out beef for plant-based burgers

ANNA MATTILA: Consumers are more likely to choose a plant-based meat substitute when the restaurant’s advertising highlights the social benefits of doing so rather than its taste, according to recently published research I conducted with a colleague. We also found that showcasing the social costs of meat consumption also leads to a preference for plant-based “meats.” To reach this conclusion, we conducted two online experiments to examine the advertising of plant-based burgers and meatballs. Participants were recruited via the crowdsourcing website Amazon Mechanical Turk. In the first one,…

WICKED TRANSGRESSIONS: What the COVID-19 crisis is telling humanity

DAVID O. WIEBERS & VALERY L. FEGIN: The world is enveloped in a global health emergency that is exacting enormous medical and economic tolls upon humanity... The medical community finds itself on the front lines throughout the world dealing with the immediate human health consequences of this rapidly evolving crisis and trying to develop therapies and vaccines, as countries and their leaders attempt to mitigate the overwhelming societal and economic devastations that are unfolding... Yet, in the midst of all of the pandemonium and destruction, and as we begin to find our way through…

EASY DOES IT: How to market meat-free to meat-eaters

TESSA NOWOSENETZ: While veganism and vegetarianism appear to be increasing, only 1% of the population of developed countries claim to be vegan and only 5% claim to be vegetarian. Another trend is plant-based food. You might assume that this correlates with the increase in veganism and vegetarianism but, with such small numbers, neither group actually has the scale to command significant buying power. Is it worth it for retailers to cater to the needs of this small segment of the population? And if so, how?.. Walk the aisles of most food retailers and there’s no major emphasis on food…

STUDY: Future pandemic? Consider altering animal agriculture practices

GISELE GALOUSTIAN: As early as the Neolithic period (circa 3900 BC), the domestication of animals likely led to the development of diseases including measles and smallpox. Since then, zoonotic disease has led to other major transnational outbreaks including HIV, Ebola, SARS, MERS, and H1N1 swine flu, among others. Currently, more than half of all existing human pathogens, and almost three-quarters of emerging infectious diseases, are zoonotic in nature. COVID-19 is the latest and most impactful zoonotic event of the modern era, but it will certainly not be the last. Given the breadth of…

DEADLY DENIAL: Studies show people willfully ignore the pandemic risk of animal agriculture

KRISTOF DHONT: COVID-19 is a once-in-a-century pandemic that has killed scores of people, incapacitated economies, education, and travel, plus severely disrupted social life globally. Although scientists forewarned about the imminence of global pandemics such as COVID-19, humanity collectively failed to dodge its arrival. Sensibly, governments deployed a range of tactics to curb the further spread of the disease, saving human lives. Yet, with the dominant focus on how to be prepared and respond once pandemics hit, surprisingly few conversations seriously discuss prevention tactics... The…