Update on 1 Aug 2017 from Jenny Lopez:
Bill Gates became the world’s richest man by tackling seemingly impossible problems – so it should come as no surprise that he believes in a startup whose goal is to create the impossible. In this case, the audacious goal isn’t getting a computer in every home, it’s creating an environmentally responsible meat substitute that’s indistinguishable from the real thing.
Finding a suitable meat substitute that actually looks, cooks, and tastes like the real thing has always proven to be difficult. Until now. So claims Impossible Foods, a Silicon Valley start-up that is developing an entirely plant-based burger patty that imitates one made from ground beef, one so realistic that it ‘bleeds’.
This ‘plant blood’ is created through the inclusion of heme, a molecule found in high concentration in animal blood, which has a distinct iron flavour. However, rather than sourcing this from animals, Impossible Foods extracts heme from the roots of legume plants, which it then adds to the burger.
The company is part of a wave of well-funded start-ups seeking to replicate meats, eggs, cheese and other animal-based foods with plant matter. Its aim is not only to upend the trillion-dollar animal farming industry, but also to create a more sustainable – yet better tasting – burger experience amid mounting environmental pressures.
A leader in this industry, Impossible Foods was listed on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List in 2015, which features private companies “whose innovations are revolutionising the business landscape” and “have potential to become billion-dollar businesses.”
Image credit: Impossible Foods