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The question of how we’re going to meet the protein needs of our global population as it rises to 9.8 billion by 2050 is rapidly becoming the biggest challenge of our time. It’s no secret that the developed world is obsessed with protein, with the average person in the U.S. consuming 103 grams per day, around double the actual recommended amount, two-thirds of which comes from animal sources. Unfortunately, industrialized animal agriculture is pushing our food system to the brink and we’re running out of land and water resources to support this highly inefficient – and destructive – system. We must change our ways. And fast. But how?

Rody Hawkins, the man who invented Lunchables way back in 1986 and worked as a scientist to help extend the shelf life of Slim Jim has a solution.

Hawkins is now the Founder and President of Improved Nature, a plant-based meat company based in North Carolina. The exciting news was recently shared by the non-profit organization, The Good Food Institute (GFI). 

 

GFI notes that Hawkins is a born problem-solver, even working on solutions on how to make U.S. military dishes shelf stable. He is now determined to create food that is more sustainable than the animal agriculture industry.

Through his company, Improved Nature, Hawkin is working on a versatile plant-based meat that is high in fiber, low in sodium and uses fewer resources than animal agriculture. “We now have a way to be 20 times more efficient than animal agriculture,” Hawkins explained at the recent Concordia Summit. “Right now, it takes about five pounds of soy meal to make one pound of pork. We’re taking one pound of soy protein and making five pounds of plant-based meat.”

This commitment to expanding protein to include plant-based options is undoubtedly a great move for the planet. The industrial animal agriculture system is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet and we need to start shifting away from animal proteins and towards plant-based alternatives, if we want to create a truly sustainable food system that will be able to support our growing population. With this in mind, seeing all of the new plant-based alternatives coming to the market to meet virtually every consumer’s needs and wants is extremely heartening.

Looks like the question of where you get your protein from if you eat plant-based foods, is quickly going out of date. The meat alternative sector is set to be valued at $5.2 billion as soon as 2020, so there’s no denying that future of food is already here — and it’s plant-based.

We are excited to see what Improved Nature does next! To learn more about the company, click here.

For more about the environmental impact of our food choices as well as trends and developments in the plant-based food space, check out our podcast #EatForThePlanet with Nil Zacharias.

Image source: The Good Food Institute/Facebook 

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0 comments on “Why the Man Behind Lunchables and Slim Jims is Now Betting on Plant-Based Meats”

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Mary Newby
27 Days ago

Michael


Reply
Michael Rudnin
25 Oct 2017

Thanks for tagging me, I'm going to share this tomorrow ... `Through his company, Improved Nature, Hawkin is working on a versatile plant-based meat that is high in fiber, low in sodium and uses fewer resources than animal agriculture. “We now have a way to be 20 times more efficient than animal agriculture,” Hawkins explained at the recent Concordia Summit. “Right now, it takes about five pounds of soy meal to make one pound of pork. We’re taking one pound of soy protein and making five pounds of plant-based meat.” This commitment to expanding protein to include plant-based options is undoubtedly a great move for the planet. The industrial animal agriculture system is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet and we need to start shifting away from animal proteins and towards plant-based alternatives, if we want to create a truly sustainable food system that will be able to support our growing population. With this in mind, seeing all of the new plant-based alternatives coming to the market to meet virtually every consumer’s needs and wants is extremely heartening.`

Bobbie Briggs
27 Days ago

Please keep it GMO-free


Reply
Lonni Whitchurch
27 Days ago

Patty Clifton


Reply
Darren N Melissa Becker
27 Days ago

Plant based meats are worse look in to it


Reply
David W Donnell
28 Days ago

Oh great, more highly processed, overly-packaged crap to choke the planet. (Hey vegans: eat more vegetables and fewer vegan food products.)


Reply
Penny Jill Dee
26 Oct 2017

Meaters eat way more "processed" and packaged crap. If anyone eats more vegetables it's VEGANS. And I think that you're also missing the point of the article. Lunchables ARE CRAP. Slim Jim's ARE CRAP. Better to have the crap become plant-based for many reasons including environmental and especially the animals if not for health.

David W Donnell
26 Oct 2017

You're missing the point about the obscene amount of packaging with those products and, likely, with the new line of plant-based "meals". In my mind, we should care about animals AND the environment. But I reckon people who are focused on only the former will buy all kinds of environmentally-unfriendly crap without batting an eye.

Carolyn Hoyt
28 Days ago

Plant based meat or the continued evil and cruelty of factory farms? I hope he makes billions and converts billions of people along the way.


Reply
Tim W Medsker
28 Days ago

He should be in jail for feeding that crap to kids. It's killing them.


Reply
Erica L. Vee
24 Oct 2017

The parents should know better. I never bought either of these products for my kids.

Carolyn Hoyt
24 Oct 2017

Where were the parents when he was force feeding their children??

Tim W Medsker
24 Oct 2017

Most parents don't know. I am sure there are hundreds of products you feed your family that is just as bad. All soy is GMO. High fructose corn syrup all GMO like heinze kethup, only 20% tomatoes and Mostly GMO and laden with pesticides. Kellogs cereals, General mills cereals, pestides. rice or chicken laden with arsenic. Unless you grow it you are guilty too. Milk loaded with sugar from beets that are GMO and full of antibiotics and hormones. Not the parents fault. Big companies use these products, preservatives, GMOs, artificial colorings made from petroleum. HFCS . Carageenan in almost all ice cream. Aspartame in all gum. Soy in just about everything, kills testosterone and mimics estrogen in men, femonizes them. Has progesterone affects on woman and makes them more manly. So just think its always the parents. READ ALL LABELS LOOK AT THE SOY IN JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. If you eat in a government building your a soyholic . Restaurants get most of their products from 6 main distributors, unless they get local.

Don Linney
24 Oct 2017

Tim W Medsker so you are saying organic soy is GMO soy?

Carolyn Hoyt
24 Oct 2017

Gee thanks for the three hundred year old propaganda bulletin Ted. Being a longtime vegan I do need your condescending BS. Stupid parents are not the problem of food manufacturers. So when did he force feed the children??

Eva Stuart
28 Days ago

ccz8


Reply
Claudio Putnam
28 Days ago

Because he wants to make a lot of money


Reply


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