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Beyond meat: The end of food as we know it?

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With the latest breakthroughs in artificial intelligence a whole new concept of food may soon radically change what we eat. And at the same time, some experts believe, it could reduce global warming.No longer based on animal ingredients, this is a food entirely based on plants - although it looks and tastes like the classic food based on ingredients derived from animals.This is not a new idea, it has been around for about 10 years.But the breakthrough has been delayed, perhaps one of the reasons is that many consumers still prefer locally produced food, they want to trust the supply chain, and not simply depend on big manufacturers.However, a group of young scientists in Chile are working on alternatives for a sustainable and meatless future.Commercial engineer Matias Muchnick and Harvard research associate Karim Pichara are two of the founders of the Not Company. Together with biochemist Isidora Silva they are developing new plant-based food and are determined to bring it to people in their local market.Part of what motivates them is what they consider to be the biggest drawback of classic animal farming: It requires massive amounts of land and it affects global warming.According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, livestock contributes both directly and indirectly to climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.Livestock is also a major driver of deforestation, desertification, as well as the release of carbon from cultivated soils. Overall the livestock sector is contributing 2.7 billion tonnes of CO2 emission according to the UN."When you get behind the scenes of the food industry, you don't like what you see. There is a lot of things that we should be knowing... but we are blindsided by a whole industry that is making it really hard for us to see what we are really eating," says Matias Muchnick. The main scientist of the Not Company team is a computer, an artificial intelligence algorithm programmed to become the smartest food scientist in the world.It uses deep learning parameters to understand food at a molecular level, helping the team to deliver tasty and affordable nutrition while using less water, less land, less energy, and without the need to cultivate harmful bio systems like animals.It's a complicated process but it's designed to understand human perception of taste and texture which allows it to suggest clever recipes for sustainable and tasty plant-based foods. And it even understands the availability and use of resources for every single plant in the company's database."We want people to eat better, but without even knowing, that's the main objective of the Not Company," Muchnick says. But does the new model of food production really work? Will it be popular among consumers? What does it mean for the future of food? Are we at the tipping point of a food revolution? The team behind the Not Company talks to Al Jazeera to discuss their work, their goals and their vision for the future of the food industry.

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New York Times

Plant-Based, the Beyond Burger Aims to Stand Sturdy Among Meat
New York Times
Ethan Brown, the founder of Beyond Meat. The company will begin selling the Beyond Burger at a Whole Foods in Boulder, Colo. — alongside the case where beef, poultry, lamb and pork are sold. Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times. For the handful of ...
Beyond Meat's burger drips canola oil not bloodKCCI Des Moines

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It’s probably time people learned the name Veggie Grill, a fast-casual chain that’s going gangbusters in Southern California and also happens to be entirely vegan. It announced Wednesday that investors who are liking what they’re seeing have sunk another $22 million into the company so it can finally expand in earnest beyond the West Coast. The chain received $20 million in 2013, money it used to double the number of stores it was running to 28. The investment should be enough to double the chain’s size again by 2019, it predicts, and the spots it’s eyeing for expansion are primarily urban areas all over the country. The plan is to widen Veggie Grill’s footprint in California, but also to “move out of the West Coast region,” CEO Steve Heeley tells Nation’s Restaurant News. “We’re still evaluating markets, but we’re looking at the Midwest and the East Coast.”

The chain’s seasonally rotating menu offers a mix of burgers, salads packed with superfoods, Asian-inspired bowls, and even a few main-and-two-sides-style entrées, all made without any meat, dairy products, eggs, cholesterol, or trans fat. Some people may never know it, though: Dishes include several with fried “chickin’” plus veggie versions of everything from crab to beef.

NRN says there are also plans to occupy airports and university food courts. The chain seems emboldened by its own market research, which it says shows “a large number of what we call ‘veggie positive’ people” out there who still like meat, but “want to move vegetables to the center of the plate.” Veggie Grill will add even more bragging rights soon, too, as it’s about to become the first chain to serve Beyond Meat’s plant-based patty, a close competitor of the Impossible Food “bleeding” burger beloved by David Chang and other chefs right now.

http://www.grubstreet.com/2016/10/veggie-grill-vegan-chain-expansion.html

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Beyond Meat, a startup that makes plant-based meat products, has filed for an IPO. The size of the offering? $100 million, but that number's just a placeholder.

A quick appetizer of some financials: The company said that net revenue in the first nine months of 2018 came to $56.4 million, a 167% bump from the same period last year.

Now, it's true that not every IPO filing gets top billing in the Brew—no hard feelings, Glucose Biosensor Systems (Greater China) Holdings. But this isn't just any IPO filing.

It's got a buzzy product

While Beyond Meat sells a variety of plant-based products from beef to pork to poultry, its bread-and-butter is the Beyond Burger, which is designed in a lab "to look, cook and taste like traditional ground beef." Why couldn't that have been our Chem 332 final project?

Let's talk distribution.

Retail: It's sold in large supermarket chains including Albertsons, Kroger, Wegmans, and Whole Foods.

Restaurants: You can see the Beyond Burger on menus at Bareburger, TGI Fridays, and a few others.

It's in a buzzy industry

Consumers are increasingly shunning meat over concerns of environmental impact, health, and animal welfare. And the meat substitutes industry is poised to take advantage—it's estimated to grow to nearly $6.5 billion by 2023 (up from $4.6 billion this year).

So it shouldn't surprise you that Beyond Meat is locked in a bruising battle with competitors. Not only is it duking it out with the like-minded Morningstar Farms and Impossible Foods, but there's also the traditional giants of Big Meat (the animal variety) to worry about.

Finally, it's got high-profile backers

Leonardo DiCaprio is a brand ambassador, and Beyond Meat counts Bill Gates as one of its investors. These celeb endorsements show how plant-based protein has worked its way to center stage.

And there's no brighter spotlight than the one on the public markets.

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    • By Nicole
      It’s probably time people learned the name Veggie Grill, a fast-casual chain that’s going gangbusters in Southern California and also happens to be entirely vegan. It announced Wednesday that investors who are liking what they’re seeing have sunk another $22 million into the company so it can finally expand in earnest beyond the West Coast. The chain received $20 million in 2013, money it used to double the number of stores it was running to 28. The investment should be enough to double the chain’s size again by 2019, it predicts, and the spots it’s eyeing for expansion are primarily urban areas all over the country. The plan is to widen Veggie Grill’s footprint in California, but also to “move out of the West Coast region,” CEO Steve Heeley tells Nation’s Restaurant News. “We’re still evaluating markets, but we’re looking at the Midwest and the East Coast.”
      The chain’s seasonally rotating menu offers a mix of burgers, salads packed with superfoods, Asian-inspired bowls, and even a few main-and-two-sides-style entrées, all made without any meat, dairy products, eggs, cholesterol, or trans fat. Some people may never know it, though: Dishes include several with fried “chickin’” plus veggie versions of everything from crab to beef.
      NRN says there are also plans to occupy airports and university food courts. The chain seems emboldened by its own market research, which it says shows “a large number of what we call ‘veggie positive’ people” out there who still like meat, but “want to move vegetables to the center of the plate.” Veggie Grill will add even more bragging rights soon, too, as it’s about to become the first chain to serve Beyond Meat’s plant-based patty, a close competitor of the Impossible Food “bleeding” burger beloved by David Chang and other chefs right now.
      http://www.grubstreet.com/2016/10/veggie-grill-vegan-chain-expansion.html

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