I've never been much of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. If I get to choose, we're going out for Mexican food because I love me some chorizo.
I first discovered chorizo when I lived in Denver, and if I ever find my way to the taco truck, the first thing I'm ordering are chorizo tacos. Top it with some guacamole and cilantro and I'm in heaven – presumably a few years earlier than expected because I've been eating too much chorizo.
So when Chipotle started offering chorizo as a limited time entree in 2016, I had it once a week
or more until it disappeared. It returned in January with a twist: plant-based chorizo made from pea protein.
Sure, I could be aghast at the thought of my precious sausage replaced by peas, but I decided to give it a shot. It wasn't bad! Not as good as the real deal, but that's a high bar to clear.
They're becoming more of a norm though, these plant-based meats. One of the challenges is that they haven't achieved price parity with the real meat they're trying to replace. Companies are also well aware that it doesn't taste quite the same.
Other companies are taking a different approach: cultured meat. This is the so-called "meat grown in a lab," though that obviously won't be the manufacturing process of choice at mass-production levels. The premise is to replicate animal cells so you get, in effect, the same meat as before minus the impact on livestock and the environment.
Is your mouth watering yet?
In truth, if you switch over to an alternative, it's probably not for the taste. You might be climate- or health-conscious and just not ready to give up on a good burger.
If you want to be on the cutting edge of food science and use food as a way to combat climate change, check out the job opportunities in this week's issue. This sector is exploding – consider searching for companies beyond those listed here.
Find us on Twitter and let us know about your own plant-based meat experiences – is this the future?
- Greg (@gregrancourt)
This week's reads
Cultivated meat is made from animals cells, not livestock. Here's how it's made, where the US stands on approval and how it could affect human and environmental health.
Alternative proteins were meant to reduce the carbon footprint of our diets. But it doesn’t look like consumers are switching ... yet.
A company called Bluu Seafood has revealed two finished food products, made of fish cells but without the fish.
Taco Bell is testing a plant-based meat substitute made from soy and pea protein at its restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama.
Your meal's carbon footprint
Our dining decisions have an impact on the environment as well, and some foods are better than others. Check out this graphic from the BBC to get a sense of how your next grocery visit can help lower your carbon footprint.
I'll be foraging for nuts on aisle nine...
Find a meaningful career
The EVERY Company uses precision fermentation to create animal proteins without the animal.
Beyond Meat makes plant-based meat products that are better for people and the planet.
Air Protein is crafting the world’s first air-based meats to eliminate compromise between nutrition, taste and climate impact.
Impossible Burger is made from simple, plant-based ingredients. For the health of people and the planet.
UPSIDE Foods grows meat directly from animal cells to make future-friendly, real meat.
Thanks for reading!
Join us on Twitter to continue the conversation – which do you think will prove more popular: plant-based meat or cultured meat?