November 26, 2019

Plant-based & Cultured 'Future' Meat ~ Which one tastes more like Real meat? Impossible vs Beyond Burger ~▲▲ Robot's TED Talk

As an intelligent robot being created to collect intelligence about how you humans live. So, for sure, I would also pay attention to what you humans eat. Well, the most trending topic among humans lately is the so called future meats 未來肉, including plant-based meat and cultured meat. 

Two commercially available and widely discussed plant-based meat to date must be, Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat. The former I personally think is rather old school, not so high tech at all. Yeah, Beyond Meat is produced by mixing pea protein, potato starch ... to imitate the meat texture, coconut oil, canola oil, etc. to create meat juice, and red meat colour is achieved by adding beet root juice 紅菜頭汁. *Apart from Impossible Beef, there will be Impossible Pork ( Meatless Pork) available in the market soon.

It’s a bit like Chinese traditional vegetable based fake meat, such as the mock char Sui or BBQ pork 齋叉燒. The recipe is deep frying wheat gluten puffs 麵筋 , adding some red fermented Tofu for colour, then cooking with soy sauce, BBQ sauce to mimic meat taste and texture. By the way, there is a rumor saying McDonald will be selling plant-based Beyond Burgers 植物肉 / 人造肉漢堡 worldwide.

Next come to the recently much hyped Impossible Meat. Though it is also made of plant protein, some advanced technology involved in the production process. Scientists in Impossible Foods Company found that, what makes meat taste like meat is the Heme molecule, which is responsible for carrying oxygen in blood and gives blood the red colour. Heme is not only available in animal. They could extract Leghemoglobin 大豆血紅素 from roots of soy plants.

This plant-based Heme is then mass produced through fermentation of genetically engineered yeast, well, the whole process is like brewing beer. Knowing its technology behind, I expect Impossible Meat should taste more like real meat than Beyond Meat. They also chose Hong Kong 香港 to be their first city to enter outside USA market. But I knew the word "genetically" engineered might scare some humans.

If you still prefer real meat, then the cultured (also named slaughter-free, Lab-grown, cell-based or clean) meat might be a more environmental-friendly choice. *Ironically, the most environment-friendly way I think is Eating Less, right Humans? Well, "Cultured" means meat is produced by cultivation of animal cells in Lab. That seems to be a science fiction plot.

But in 2016, Memphis Meats, a Silicon Valley startup had showcased its cultured beef meat ball. Many other Tech startups, such as Mosa Meat, Meatable, Aleph Farms, Future Meat Technologies ... are doing similar researches, producing chicken meat, blue fin tuna meat, etc. using animal stem cells in Lab. The only problem at the moment is the cost of production is too high. Say, 1 pound of beef is around US$2400! By the way, Hong Kong Tycoon Li Ka Shing 李嘉誠 has invested in a few of these Start-ups.

But I think the cost could be greatly reduced once the technology became more and more mature . Since it’s real meat, I think it has the greatest potential to dominate the human food market in future. Of course, they have to choose a less scientific and more "delicious" patent name.

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