Food technology company, Impossible Foods, maker of the Impossible Burger, a plant-based “beef” patty that cooks, smells, tastes, and even “bleeds” like real meat, now has their eye on another animal protein. Impossible Foods may use the same technology used for their Impossible Burger to create fish!
Company founder and CEO Pat Brown, a biochemist, said at a recent press briefing that Impossible Foods is working to remove all animals from methods of food production by 2035. “We are working on producing all foods that we get from animals,” he said.
Brown has already patented the technology to extract heme, an iron-containing molecule from soybeans, to make their Impossible Burger. Heme also happens to be found in bluefin tuna. “We are looking at replacing all products derived from animals and fish is on the list, although somewhat far out,” spokeswoman Jessica Appelgren told Undercurrent News.
A move to create fish using plant-based protein is much-needed. Sadly, bluefin tuna is in high demand at high-end sushi markets and at least one of the three species, the Atlantic bluefin, is considered threatened due to overfishing. Many people don’t realize that tuna are apex predators in the oceans and removing them at a rate faster than they can repopulate has a negative ripple effect on the ocean environment. The oceans and the impact that our food choices have on them are frequently overlooked by consumers, but many scientists have predicted that fish stocks in our oceans will collapse by the year 2048 due to our increasing demand for salmon and tuna. As if overfishing weren’t bad enough, marine life is also highly endangered by our surplus of plastic trash and other environmental toxins we dump into the world’s waters.
The reality is only about one billion people worldwide rely on seafood as their primary source of protein, mostly in developing nations, yet, we here in the West are draining scarce fish stocks at unprecedented rates. The average person in the U.S. eats around 225 fish a year, so if we could replace all of that – or at least a portion of it – with plant-based alternatives, we could help struggling marine populations recover and restore the balance we need to maintain a healthy global environment.
Just a couple months ago, Impossible Foods announced they raised $75 million in investment for their plant-based burgers from a Singapore-based venture fund, Temasek, Bill Gates (making this the third time Gates has invested in Impossible Foods!), Khosla Ventures, and others. We’re looking forward to seeing what Impossible Foods does next!
To learn 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: Keana Okuda/Flickr