Bill Gates recently penned an article on Mashable in support of fake meat and even shamelessly plugged two venture capital companies he’s invested in — Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins — suggesting their products are at least as healthy as meat and more sustainable.
Gates points out that the global population is on track to reach 9 billion by 2050, and worries that people will not have enough to eat.
“With billions of people adding more animal protein to their diets,” writes Gates, “meat consumption is expected to double by 2050 — it seems clear that arable land for raising livestock won’t be able to keep up.”
Gates is right about one thing: way too much land, water and feed is required to raise cattle which is an extremely inefficient use of farm land. He adds that for every 10 kilograms of grain we feed cattle, we get 1 kilogram of beef in return.
Gates claims food scientists are now creating meat alternatives that truly taste like, and have the same feel as real meat.
Gates insists companies like Beyond Meat, Hampton Creek Foods and Lyrical are doing some amazing things.
“By using pressure and precisely heating and cooling oils and plant proteins (like powdered soybeans and vegetable fiber), you can achieve the perfect flavor and texture of meat or eggs.”
Gates says he tasted Beyond Meat’s chicken alternative and honestly couldn’t tell it from real chicken.
SEE RECIPE: Chicken-Free Tikka Masala.
According to Grocery Headquarters, a monthly supermarket magazine, Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips are made with a blend of pea and soy protein offering consumers 18 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving and 120 calories.
“Plus, these plant-based strips have no saturated or trans fat and are cholesterol free, gluten free, dairy free, meat free, egg free, GMO free, hormone free, antibiotic free.”
(Not quite GMO free — 85 percent of the soy grown in the U.S. is GMO soy.)
Three versions of Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips will be available nationally in the refrigerated section of natural retailers including Whole Foods Market in May 2013.
Each of the three products: Lightly Seasoned Chicken-Free Strips, Grilled Chicken-Free Strips and Southwest Chicken-Free Strips will be available in 12 ounce. packages. The suggested retail price is $5.29.
Gates also mentions a new salt alternative, and says Nu-Tek has found a way to make potassium chloride taste like salt (and nothing but salt) with only a fraction of the sodium.
Gates comments that in the developing world people often do not get enough protein, and he blames the problem in part on our heavy reliance on animals as the primary protein source.
“However, that doesn’t have to be the case. There’s plenty of protein and necessary amino acids in plants, including the world’s four major commodity crops” rice, maize, wheat and soy.”
Gates adds that instead of feeding these crops to people, we’re feeding most of them to livestock. And so we’re caught in an inefficient protein-delivery system.
Despite these interesting insights, Gates is an ardent supporter of Monsanto and the production of genetically engineered crops including maize, wheat and soy. Gates has even recently invested $25 million in a new biotech center devoted to GMO research outside Mexico City.
Gates says there’s plenty of protein and necessary amino acids in plants, including maize, wheat and soy, but unless you buy organic produce, these crops are all genetically modified.
Ninety-five percent of soya in the world is transgenic. Roughly eighty-five percent of the soy grown in the US is Roundup Ready, genetically modified soy.
And since soy derivatives, including oil, flour and lecithin, are found in the majority of processed foods sold in the US, whether we like it or not, day in and day out we’re eating ingredients derived from genetically modified soy.