“A New Generation of Meats and Cheeses”

Michele Simon reports on a burgeoning industry: animal-free animal foods.

“Growing more and more animals for food is unsustainable. The World Health Organization predicts that global annual meat production will increase from 218 million tons in 1998 to 376 million tons by 2030. That uptick will bring with it numerous negative consequences, including deforestation, animal manure contamination of air and water and excessive use of water supplies and harmful energy sources, not to mention contributions to climate change.

“Recognizing this problem, food startups backed by significant venture capital are hoping to create food products without using animals. The goal: provide a viable alternative to the existing animal foods production model that is wreaking havoc on the environment, public health and animal welfare.”

Bittersweet

Food companies are still marketing sugary drinks to kids, reports the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity:

“In recent years, key actors have taken steps to reduce young people’s consumption of sugar-sweetened soda and other types of sugary drinks. Local communities have launched public health campaigns to increase awareness of the negative health effects of sugary drinks and reduce their availability in public settings. Policy makers have proposed legislation and regulation to limit consumption and raise awareness of the dangers of minors consuming highly caffeinated energy drinks….

“At the same time, beverage companies continue to extensively market their unhealthy products—including sugar-sweetened soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, iced tea, and flavored water, as well as energy drinks and shots—in a wide variety of marketing venues where children and teens are exposed to these messages daily.”

Food Tank is sponsoring a petition to tax such beverages.

Addition by Subtraction

The Environmental Working Group has named the “dirty dozen” food additives that consumers should avoid, reports Josh Scherer:

“According to a new report it released today, the chemical that makes your cold cuts glow that signature violent shade of pink isn’t exactly healthy to consume (although some would disagree). Condolences go out to mortadella enthusiasts everywhere.”

Food Fight

Unilever, which owns Hellmann’s mayonnaise, is suing the maker of Just Mayo, “an egg-free spread made from peas, sorghum and other plants,” over the definition of the term, reports NPR:

“The company points to a decades-old legal definition set by the Food and Drug Administration that specifies that mayonnaise must contain eggs.

“‘Our Hellmann’s brand is made from real eggs,’ a Unilever spokesperson wrote to us in a statement, and ‘we simply wish to protect both consumers from being misled and also our brand.'”

Food marketing professor John Stanton suggests Unilever’s strategy may have backfired:

“If I was Just Mayo … I’d be sitting back and saying, ‘You know, I’m getting more attention than I could have ever paid for!'”

Wrapper and All

Katherine Martinko commends edible food packaging as a novel way to achieve zero waste, but wonders whether the concept would fly:

“The big question is whether consumers are psychologically ready for it. Buying apples and bagels directly from a bin at the supermarket is one thing, but sifting through a display of yogurt balls in edible skins is a different kind of experience.”