These family style beef short ribs were inspired by a cross-cultural Texas childhood.
The popular cooking website will not publish new beef recipes over concerns about climate change. “We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet,” an article said.
Orbillion Bio’s plans to make high end meats in a lab have investors lining up for a seat at the company’s cap table.
Mere weeks after launching from Y Combinator’s famous accelerator program, the Silicon Valley-based potential purveyor of premium lamb loins, elk steaks, bison burgers and more has managed to haul in $5 million in financing.
The company’s led by Patricia Bubner, Gabrial Levesque Tremblay, and Samet Yidrim, who between them have over thirty years working in bioprocessing and the biopharmaceuticals industry.
A little over a month ago, Orbillion held its first public tasting event where meats mixed with its elk, beef, and sheep were on offer straight from the petri dish to the table.
Investors in the $5 million round include: At One Ventures, which has also backed Finless Foods and Wild Earth; Metaplanet Holdings; the European investment firm k16 ventures; FoundersX Ventures, who are also investors in SpaceX; Prithi Ventures, which backed Mission Barns, Turtle Tree Labs; and angel investors including Jonghoon Lim, the CEO of Hanmi Pharmaceuticals; Kris Corzine; Ethan Perlstein, the CEO of Perlara, the first biotech PBC; and a well-known university endowment.
“We were immediately struck by Orbillion’s focus on high-end, flavorful, hard-to-find meats like lamb, elk, wagyu beef, and bison, their strong science, business, and engineering backgrounds, and the fact that they are so focused on flavor that they literally have a Master Butcher on their advisory board,” said Ali Rohde, GP at Outset Capital, an early-stage venture fund run by Rohde along with repeat entrepreneurs Kanjun Qiu and Josh Albrecht. “Lab-grown meat is the future, and Orbillion Bio is already paving the way.”
The company said it would use the cash to bring its first product, a Wagyu beef offering, to pilot production.
Meati, a company turning mycelium (the structural fibers of fungi) into healthier meat replacements for consumers, is prepping for a big summer rollout.
Co-founder Tyler Huggins expects to have the first samples of its whole-cut steak and chicken products in select restaurants around the country — along with their first commercial product, a jerky strip.
For Huggins, the product launch is another step on a long road toward broad commercial adoption of functional fungi foods as a better-for-you alternative to traditional meats.
“Use this as a conversation starter. About 2 ounces of this gives you 50% of your protein; 50% of your fiber; and half of your daily zinc. There really is nothing that can compare to this product in terms of nutritionals,” Huggins said.
And moving from meat to mushrooms is a better option for the planet.
Meati expects to turn on its pilot plant this summer and is joining a movement among mushroom fans that includes milk replacements, from Perfect Day, more meat replacements from Atlast, and leather substitutes from Ecovative and MycoWorks.
“We’re definitely all in this together,” said Huggins of the other mob of mycelium-based tech companies bringing products to market.
However, not all mycelium is created equally, Huggins said. Meati has what Huggins said was a unique way of growing its funguses (not a real word) that “keep it in its most happy state.” That means peak nutritional content and peak growth efficiency, according to the company.
For Huggins, whose parents own a bison ranch and who grew up in cattle country, the goal is not to replace a t-bone or a ribeye, but the cuts of meat and chicken that find their ways into a burrito supreme or other quick serve meat cuts.
“Head to head with that kind of cut, we win,” Huggins said. “I’d rather pick a fight there now and buy ourselves some time. I don’t think we’re going to go super high-end to start.”
That said, the company’s cap table of investors already includes some pretty heady culinary company. Acre Venture Partners (which counts Sam Kass — President Barack Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, Executive Director for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, and an Assistant Chef in the White House — among its partnership) is an investor. So is Chicago’s fine dining temple, Alinea.
But Huggins wants Meati to be an everyday type of meat replacement product. “I want to make sure that people think this is an every day protein,” Huggins said.
Meati thinks its future meat replacements will be cost competitive with conventional beef and chicken, but to whet consumers’ appetites, the company is starting with jerky.
“Meati’s delicious jerky,” said Huggins. “It provides this blank canvas. We’ll start with these beef jerky like flavors. But I want to come out of the gate and say that we’re mycelium jerky.”
The company currently has 30 people on staff led by Huggins and fo-founder Justin Whiteley. The two men initially started working on Meati as a battery replacement. Based on their research (Huggins with mycelium and Whiteley with advanced batteries) the two men received a grant for a mycelium-based electrode for lithium ion batteries.
“We were trying to tweak the chemical composition of the mycelium to make a better battery. What we found was that we were making something nutritious and edible,” said Huggins.
Also… the battery companies didn’t want it.
Now, backed by $28 million from Acre, Prelude Ventures, Congruent Ventures and Tao Capital, Meati is ready to go to market. The company also has access to debt capital to build out its vast network of mycelium growing facilities. It’s just raised a $18 million debt round from Trinity and Silicon Valley Bank.
“Two years ago … most companies in this space … there wasn’t this ability to take on debt to put steel in the ground,” said Huggins. “It’s an exciting time to be in food tech given that you can raise VC funding and there’s this ready available market for debt financing. You’ll start seeing faster and more rapid development because of it.”
Last week a select group of 20 employees and guests gathered at an event space on the San Francisco Bay, and, while looking out at the Bay Bridge dined on a selection of choice elk sausages, wagyu meatloaf, and lamb burgers — all of which were grown from a petrie dish.
The dinner was a coming out party for Orbillion Bio, a new startup pitching today in Y Combinator’s latest demo day, that’s looking to take lab-grown meats from the supermarket to high end, bespoke butcher shops.
Instead of focusing on pork, chicken and beef, Orbillion is going after so-called heritage meats — the aforementioned elk, lamb, and wagyu beef to start.
By focusing on more expensive end products, Orbillion doesn’t have as much pressure to slash costs as dramatically as other companies in the cellular meat market, the thinking goes.
But there’s more to the technology than its bourgie beef, elite elk, and luscious lamb meat.
“Orbillion uses a unique accelerated development process producing thousands of tiny tissue samples, constantly iterating to find the best tissue and media combinations,” according to Holly Jacobus, whose firm, Joyance Partners, is an early investor in Orbillion. “This is much less expensive and more efficient than traditional methods and will enable them to respond quickly to the impressive demand they’re already experiencing.”
The company runs its multiple cell lines through a system of small bioreactors. Orbillion couples that with a high throughput screening and machine learning software system to build out a database of optimized tissue and media combinations. “The key to making lab grown meat work scalably is choosing the right cells cultured in the most efficient way possible,” Jacobus wrote.
Co-founded by a deeply technical and highly experienced team of executives that’s led by Patricia Bubner, a former researcher at the German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim. Joining Bubner is Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay, a former director of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, who was a post-doc at Berkeley with Bubner and serves as the company’s chief technology officer. Rounding out the senior leadership is Samet Yildirim, the chief operating officer at Orbillion and a veteran executive of Boehringer Ingelheim (he actually served as Bubner’s boss).
For Bubner, the focus on heritage meats is as much a function of her background growing up in rural Austria as it is about economics. A longtime, self-described foodie and a nerd, Bubner went into chemistry because she ultimately wanted to apply science to the food business. And she wants Orbillion to make not just meat, but the most delicious meats.
It’s an aim that fits with how many other companies have approached the market when they’re looking to commercialize a novel technology. Higher end products, or products with unique flavor profiles that are unique to the production technologies available are more likely to be commercially viable sooner than those competing with commodity products. Why focus on angus beef when you focus on a much more delicious breed of animal?
For Bubner, it’s not just about making a pork replacement, it’s about making the tastiest pork replacement.
“I’m just fascinated and can see the future in us being able to further change the way we produce food to be more efficient,” she said. “We’re at this inflection point. I’m a nerd, i’m a foodie and I really wanted to use my skills to make a change. I wanted to be part of that group of people that can really have an impact on the way we eat. For me there’s no doubt that a large percentage of our food will be from alternative proteins — plant based, fermentation, and lab-grown meat.”
Joining Boehringer Ingelheim was a way for Bubner to become grounded in the world of big bioprocessing. It was preparation for her foray into lab grown meat, she said.
“We are a product company. Our goal is to make the most flavorful steaks. Our first product will not be whole cuts of steak. The first product is going to be a Wagyu beef product that we plan on putting out in 2023,” Bubner said. “It’s a product that’s going to be based on more of a minced product. Think Wagyu sashimi.”
To get to market, Bubner sees the need not just for a new approach to cultivating choice meats, but a new way of growing other inputs as well, from the tissue scaffolding needed to make larger cuts that resemble traditional cuts of meat, or the fats that will need to be combined with the meat cells to give flavor.
That means there are still opportunities for companies like Future Fields, Matrix Meats, and Turtle Tree Scientific to provide inputs that are integrated into the final, branded product.
Bubner’s also thinking about the supply chain beyond her immediate potential partners in the manufacturing process. “Part of my family were farmers and construction workers and the others were civil engineers and architects. I hold farmers in high respect… and think the people who grow the food and breed the animals don’t get recognition for the work that they do.”
She envisions working in concert with farmers and breeders in a kind of licensing arrangement, potentially, where the owners of the animals that produce the cell lines can share in the rewards of their popularization and wider commercial production.
That also helps in the mission of curbing the emissions associated with big agribusiness and breeding and raising livestock on a massive scale. If you only need a few animals to make the meat, you don’t have the same environmental footprint for the farms.
“We need to make sure that we don’t make the mistakes that we did in the past that we only breed animals for yield and not for flavor,” said Bubner.
Even though the company is still in its earliest days, it already has one letter of intent, with one of San Francisco’s most famous butchers. Guy Crims, also known as “Guy the Butcher” has signed a letter of intent to stock Orbillion Bio’s lab grown Wagyu in his butcher shop, Bubner said. “He’s very much a proponent of lab-grown meat.”
Now that the company has its initial technology proven, Orbillion is looking to scale rapidly. It will take roughly $3.5 million for the company to get a pilot plant up and running by the end of 2022 and that’s in addition to the small $1.4 million seed round the company has raised from Joyant and firms like VentureSoukh.
“The way i see an integrated model working later on is to have the farmers be the breeders of animals for cultivated meat. That can reduce the number of cows on the planet to a couple of hundred thousand,” Bubner said of her ultimate goal. “There’s a lot of talking about if you do lab grown meat you want to put me out of business. It’s not like we’re going to abolish animal agriculture tomorrow.”
In a ceremonial effort to discourage meat consumption, the Colorado governor declared March 20 “MeatOut Day.” Then Nebraska’s governor announced “Meat on the Menu Day,” seeking to do just the opposite.
A block of rib-eye from Heritage Foods can serve four, or two with leftovers.
Health experts urged people not to eat raw meat, in any dish, after a warning about a holiday tradition by Wisconsin’s health department intrigued and confused some outside the Midwest.
Left with some spare short ribs, J. Kenji López-Alt made them sing in a Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
This is the holiday season for staying in with lazy-day recipes that feel like cooking self-care and taste like celebration.
Beyond Meat has launched two new versions of its Beyond Burgers, the company announced today.
The two new options will be available on store shelves in 2021, but will be on offer at a two-day pop up event in Los Angeles for folks to try.
The new Beyond Burger patties are designed to mirror the options of beef in the market with the presentation of a lower fat patty option and a new version of its higher fat content option that the brand promises will be its “juiciest” patty for the “meatiest” Beyond Meat patty on the market.
The low fat option contains 50% less saturated fat and 35% less total fat than 80/20 beef, according to a statement and both burgers have fewer calories and added vitamins and minerals that are comparable to beef’s micronutrient profile, the company said in a statement.
Homey, savory and soothing, this beef stew made with ale and red onions tastes even better the next day.
Like many folks this year, I have been cooking a lot. Though I’ve always loved food and have had a deep and abiding interest for the art of cooking, I’ve definitely pushed myself to learn how to do a lot of things from scratch in the kitchen this year. From cooking a decent CTM to a respectable pie, I have hit a lot of my personal milestones over the past few months.
One of the unforeseen consequences of my culinarily driven efforts to stay sane during quarantine this year has been a foray into testing out purpose driven kitchen devices. Though not quite single use (and actually pretty versatile in their own way) devices like the Ooni pizza oven and the Otto Grill have found their way into my ad-hoc outdoor kitchen and I have had a pretty enjoyable time pushing and prodding on them while simultaneously upping my own cooking game.
Which leads me to this review of the Otto Wilde Grill.
What is it?
It’s a 16x17x11” self-contained propane broiler that features two top mounted burners that can reach temperatures of 1,500 degrees F. There is an adjustable grille and a catch pan for grease and a dual use arm that acts as a grille tool and a wrench to adjust the distance between the burners and your food.
It’s designed to cook steak that gets you as close to steakhouse taste and texture as possible. It does so by mimicking the kinds of top mounted broilers that you’ll find in many commercial kitchens.
I’m not going to bury the lede, this thing is $1,000. If you don’t have a G to drop on a cooking thing of any sort, then read on for entertainment and edification. If you DO have that much to spend (maybe) and are wondering why the hell you’d want to, and if you should I think I can deliver those things for you here.
After my Ooni review, Otto Wilde Grills reached out to see if I wanted to try out their over-fired broiler. I love steak, especially steak at the perfect temp with a restaurant-style carmelized crust. I’ve been able to get decent results over the years with my standard grill and a cast iron skillet — and more recently have been very happy with the sous vide bath + skillet method.
But there is just something about the somewhat violent, crispy, high heat broiler style finish that you get at a steakhouse that I have not been able to duplicate at home.
Very specifically, the reason that a steakhouse steak hits your table with a carmel crust and nicely distributed interior juice is something called the Maillard reaction. Maillard reactions are different than caramelization, which is basically the heat driven decomposition of sugar. Instead, it is the breakdown and combination of sugars and amino acids. It happens during cooking in many foods but is most important in great tasting meat and bread. It begins to occur in most foods above around 280 °F or so but even higher temperatures can emphasize the resulting effects to the point where you get this deliciously beautiful light brown crust that adds a crunch and even slight sweetness to your foods, especially meats.
The trick of at home Maillard reactions in steak is how to activate and sustain the process long enough to create the desired result while simultaneously not over-cooking your meat.
A note: I am reviewing the Otto grill several years after it was initially released (though they do have a new ‘Pro’ model with a really handy drawer and a whole grill system hitting the market). But when they offered to send me one I went and checked out the reviews that were out there. Gonna be honest, even the ‘good’ reviews are pretty poorly done. Either they are done on YouTube by clear grillmasters that assume people know a lot about grilling and don’t really explain much beyond running a steak or two through the grill or they are on…ahem…other sites where they quite clearly have no idea what they are doing. Don’t get me started on the results in some of those reviews. I can’t even. I’m not going to blow up anyone’s spot specifically here, but as a bit of meta I can just say that the current state of food appliance reviews is really, really bad. I think a lot of people do pretty decent jobs reviewing, say, phones or game consoles. Not so much in the kitchen.
Anyway, over-fired broilers are extremely common in commercial kitchens, where ‘infrared’ heat (basically high heat gas shot through pinholes in a ceramic sheet) and radiant heat are primary options. The Otto Grill is an infrared style OFB, which means that it can get to high heat extremely quickly (about 3-5 minutes to 1,500 degrees) and that it cooks VERY fast because most of the heat goes right to the meat.
Fast, high heat cooking means quicker crust, less gas waste and most importantly, juicier steaks that have less time to dry out.
A quick how-to
One of the things that I found surprising when I started researching the Otto was that there are very few direct examples of how to cook a steak with it. To that end, here is my basic process for most steaks. Prior to beginning any of this I salt my steaks generously with a nice sea salt. I do not use anything else personally and I would say beware of any rubs with pepper or other ingredients because they can burn quickly in an oven as hot as the Otto.
- Fill the water tray halfway. This prevents grease fires and makes cleanup better, as well as introducing a bit of moisture to the cooking environment.
- Pre-heat the Otto at full power. This takes as little as 3 minutes and no longer than 5 from zero to 1,500 degrees.
- Remove the grille and place the steak(s) onto it oriented so that they are covered by one or both burners.
- Pop it back in and use the adjustment lever to move them within about a half inch of the bottom edge of the flame at the top. You should see a roiling, sizzling field of flame turbulence just above the top surface of the meat.
- Cook for around 60 seconds to 90 seconds.
- Lower, remove, and flip end over end to sear the other side.
- Raise, and cook for another 60-90 seconds.
- At this point, if your steak is 1” thick or under and you are ok with medium rare, you are likely done. Remove it and check the temp with a meat thermometer to see if it is at your desired temp.
- If it is a thicker cut, reduce the heat to ¾ on both burners and drop the grill to the bottom position. Rotate every 2 minutes and periodically check the meat temp (I do it out of the oven because it’s so hot in there) until you hit desired done levels.
- Remove the meat to rest, turn off the Otto and let cool somewhat to clean the tray and grille.
This method has enabled me to cook thinner cuts in as little as 3-5 minutes. Larger cuts may require careful rotation and positioning.
I have cooked a lot of steaks on the Otto over the last couple of months. I’ve done ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, hangar and T-bone.
I cooked a wide variety of cuts at a number of different levels of marbling. The fattier cuts obviously benefited much more from the Otto’s high-temp cooking. The way that it absolutely pulverizes fat allows it to crust perfectly across the surface without creating a dry, crumbly texture. Instead it’s crispy and moist at the same time.
Also, because it’s a top firing burner, the fat seeps downward, through the meat instead of outwards. The resulting exterior is super delicious and produces a nearly perfectly sized rind every time, leaving a to-temp interior.
It took me a few steaks to get the methodology above down. I burned a few, for sure. This thing is crazy hot and the times involved are hard to wrap your head around at first. But once you have your rhythm, the Otto Grill cooks an insanely tasty steak from nearly any cut or quality of meat. Otto sent me a few frozen steaks to try, but I’ve mostly cooked my own meat purchased locally, which was much better. But even thawed meat was treated pretty well by this grill, the crust makes up for a lot when you’re working with so-so meat.
For those of you that know steak, you may be wondering whether it is good at grassfed beef. Yes! It’s actually super killer for grassfed because the high, high heat makes the sear happen super fast, locking in the juice which is at a big premium in leaner grassfed cuts. Grassfed suffers with long cook times, which you won’t find in the Otto. You can cook a very nicely juicy medium rare grassfed cut here.
One major comparison that I think many people who might be in the market to buy this thing will be interested in is how it stacks up against the very popular sous-vide + cast iron sear method also referred to as reverse searing. Cooking your steak in a water bath to achieve precise interior temp and then searing it for crust and flavor has become uber popular for at home cooks in recent years due to the wide availability of consumer grade immersion circulators.
I’ll say this as simply as possible: I think you can get extremely similar results with sous vide + cast iron, with some pretty straightforward caveats.
- Your cast iron has to be super hot. I’m talking 2,000 BTUs and up of gas burner hot. You need that high, hot heat to get that sear to lock in your juices and render your fat quickly.
- You’re searing it from the bottom by contact rather than the top by proximity, which means that fat will have a tendency to boil away and you need to continuously circulate your juices using butter or another oil.
- Smoke and spatter. You’re going to generate plenty of both on a skillet.
If you’re really used to reverse searing and you love your results, I still do think there are a couple of areas where the Otto can up your game a bit, but the general taste and satisfaction will be in the ballpark. One thing I did try which worked out well is a tri-tip — a huge cut that is popular in California that would not do well normally here. I did a sous-vide bath + reverse sear in the Otto and those turned out really lovely.
I liked the Otto’s more delineated rind that creates that nice flavor seal along the interior edge of your cut of meat. I also think that it can be very easy to over cook thin steaks while searing if you can’t get your skillet super hot.
The biggest overall benefit of course, is time. If you write off the resting time to bring your meat to room temp, which is passive cooking time, then you’re looking at anywhere from 1-3 hours to sous vide a thick cut steak. The Otto heats in 3 minutes and cooks in anywhere from 5-10 minutes. It’s a huge time savings for equal or better results.
One design consideration worth mentioning is that because there are two burners with a dead space in between, you must shift larger cuts to allow them to sear evenly if they span two burners. I wouldn’t call it a flaw as it is definitely pushing it to shove a wall-to-wall steak in there. I would love to see future versions of the oven reduce the space between the burners in order to allow more coverage for bigger steaks. This is a non factor if your steak fits under one burner, and most do in general.
The catch pan, by the way, is pretty instrumental. Filling it with water reduces the chances that your fat will catch on fire, burning portions of your steak, and it makes cleaning up super easy as you can sluice out the still warm grease water and then brush it clean. I will note, at the risk of some ribbing, that I forgot to put some water in the pan once and may have added some…decorative smoke work to my grill’s face. Cook outdoors.
Otto says you can make pizza in this thing too — and they even make a stone and peel. Well, you can, but I’d say how enthusiastic you get about it is going to sort of depend on what your standards for pizza are.
The pizzas that I made in the Otto with the stone are, uh, they’re fine I guess. It’s absolutely, totally possible to do a little personal-sized pizza in the Otto, especially if you par bake the crust. But anything you do in here is going to pale next to the Ooni. I’d actually much rather just gin a up a little pan pizza that you can do in your regular home oven. There are a lot of reasons to buy the Otto, but pizza should not be a primary one, in my opinion.
I did cook a beautiful batch of naan in it though which was lovely. It’s basically common sense. Anything in the flatbread family is going to do wonderful here, but stuff with toppings needs to be par baked because it’s so damn hot.
Can you cook other stuff in the Otto? Yeah, 100%. Basically anything you can throw in a cast iron pan and sear up will do well in the Otto. Examples I’ve tried include peppers and onions, fruit and veg medleys and crispy potatoes drizzled in oil. Because the cast iron gets nice and evenly hot and you have a top broiler it makes for an ideal searing environment. It is hot as hell even at the lower settings though, so you need to keep an eye on it.
Should you buy it?
Otto Wilde likely have their own ideas about the target market for their grills but for me it’s: has disposable income, loves steak enough to eat it 3x a week and already owns at least one or two other specialty grilling items. Basically, Big Green Egg owners. While something like a BGE is amazing at low and slow and smoking, it takes a hell of a lot to stoke and maintain the heat you’d need to get a caramelizing sear and in the end your steak would definitely be dryer.
The Otto Grill is basically the consumerized version of a commercial kitchen staple item. Could you buy something like a Salamander for like $1,300? Sure, but at that point you’re a commercial kitchen and you’re gonna need a natural gas plumb and probably a business license. Just rent a strip mall slot or a food truck.
Overall I found the design to be thoughtful, straightforward and reliable. Though I did have some ignition issues as described earlier, this is frank German engineering at its most utility-driven. The Otto Grill is expensive, but does precisely perform the task that it claims to make possible. I have cooked steaks by many different methods over the years and as I mentioned above, some of them are absolute stand-bys because they are really close to restaurant methodology. But for steakhouse style crust delivered absolutely consistently with the minimum of time and effort, the Otto Grill stands alone.
Tsimmes, a beef, carrot and sweet potato stew that is traditionally served at Rosh Hashana, slowly evolved over centuries and across continents.
A carne asada goes far beyond grilled meat: In the Mexican state of Sonora, it’s a weekly ritual, a tight-knit gathering of friends and family.
The Not Company, Latin America’s leading contender in the plant-based meat and dairy substitute market, is about to close on an $85 million round of funding that would value it at $250 million, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans.
The latest round of funding comes on the heels of a series of successes for the Santiago-based business. In the two years since NotCo launched on the global stage, the company has expanded beyond its mayonnaise product into milk, ice cream, and hamburgers. Other products, including a chicken meat substitute are also on the product roadmap, according to people familiar with the company.
NotCo is already selling several products in Chile, Argentina and Latin America’s largest market — Brazil — and has signed a blockbuster deal with Burger King to be the chain’s supplier of plant-based burgers. It’s in this Burger King deal that NotCo’s approach to protein formulation is paying dividends, sources said. The company is responsible for selling 48 sandwiches per store per day in the locations where it’s supplying its products, according to one person familiar with the data. That figure outperforms Impossible Foods per-store sales, the person said.
NotCo is also now selling its burgers in grocery stores in Argentina and Chile. And while the company is not break even yet, sources said that by December 2021 it could be — or potentially even cash flow positive.
With the growth both in sales and its diversification into new products, it’s little wonder that investors have taken note.
Sources said that the consumer brand focused private equity firm L Catterton Partners and the Biz Stone-backed Future Positive were likely investors in the new financing round for the company. Previous investors in NotCo include Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment firm of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the London-based CPG investment firm, The Craftory, IndieBio and SOS Ventures.
Alternatives to animal products are a huge (and still growing) category for venture investors. Earlier this month Perfect Day closed on a second tranche of $160 million for that company’s latest round of financing, bringing that company’s total capital raised to $361.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Perfect Day then turned around and launched a consumer food business called the Urgent Company.
These recent rounds confirm our reporting in Extra Crunch about where investors are focusing their time as they try to create a more sustainable future for the food industry. Read more about the path they’re charting.
Meanwhile large food chains continue to experiment with plant-based menu items and push even further afield into cell-based meat using cultures from animals. KFC recently announced that it would be expanding its experiment with Beyond Meat’s chicken substitute in the U.S. — and would also be experimenting with cultured meat in Moscow.
Behind all of this activity is an acknowledgement that consumer tastes are changing, interest in plant-based diets are growing, and animal agriculture is having profound effects on the world’s climate.
As the website ClimateNexus notes, animal agriculture is the second-largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels. It’s also a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution, and biodiversity loss.
There are 70 billion animals raised annually for human consumption, which occupy one-third of the planet’s land arable and habitable land surface, and consume 16% of the world’s freshwater supply. Reducing meat consumption in the world’s diet could have huge implications for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If Americans were to replace beef with plant-based substitutes, some studies suggest it would reduce emissions by 1,911 pounds of carbon dioxide.
Meat- and poultry-processing facilities have become hotspots for COVID-19 outbreaks, with cases spreading in over 100 plants across the country.
Federal and state public health researchers reported Friday, May 1, that at least 115 meat and poultry plants in 19 states have had been affected by the pandemic. In all, the researchers counted at least 4,913 sickened workers and at least 20 deaths. The findings are likely an undercount given different testing strategies at facilities and the fact that some facilities did not submit any data.
For instance, the only data researchers had from Iowa indicated that only 377 workers in two plants in the state had been sickened. But on Tuesday, May 5, Iowa health officials announced that there were at least 1,653 cases from four plants that had outbreaks—meaning 10 percent or more of the workforce had been sickened.
Hundreds of Wendy’s restaurants aren’t serving hamburgers and grocery stores are limiting meat purchases, as shoppers begin to feel the impact of meatpacking plant shutdowns.
A large, inexpensive roast is a boon for busy home cooks: Prepare it simply, then let it star in a number of fast weeknight meals. J. Kenji López-Alt explains.
The executive order is meant to prevent shortages of pork, chicken and other products. But unions fear it will endanger workers in the plants, which have become coronavirus hot spots.
The executive order is aimed at preventing shortages of pork, chicken and other products by ensuring that meat processing facilities remain open despite a risk of coronavirus outbreaks.
The coronavirus is closing meatpacking plants, adding to financial strains from the China trade war and the rise of “fake” meat alternatives.
Some employees are coming in sick, and one woman died after being ordered back to work. “Our work conditions are out of control,” a longtime Tyson employee said.