Contributed by Stephan Essex
I’m going to take an incredibly risky shot in the dark here, and assume that you eat and enjoy food? I’d be truly surprised if you didn’t. Jokes aside, it’s such a massive part of our day to day lives and culture that we often take it for granted.
I bet you hadn’t even considered its importance until now. Think about that delicious fried breakfast you just enjoyed. Think about your dinner last night, a glorious concoction of vegetables and cooked meats. Or how about your lunch break at work, where you indulged in a hot cup of coffee, piece of fruit and a delightful chicken salad sandwich.
And that’s just the day-to-day. There are plenty of festivals and celebrations where food is at the core. There’s the famous Christmas dinner, and even Easter revolves around a (less healthy) foodstuff. We celebrate and cherish the very fuel that keeps us going, and this can sometimes lead to complacency.
Because, the reality of the situation is, not all food comes from environmentally-friendly or humane sources. Far from it. Some foods cause direct harm to animals upon their production, while others can damage our planet. Some foods are ridiculously expensive to produce, and some foods just aren’t practical to make or sell.
And that’s why people are changing the food industry with bright ideas and forward thinking, altering the very processes that have become second nature. As a species, it’s important that we never rest, and never stop seeking a better solution for our problems. Even when a problem isn’t readily apparent, there’s always room to improve.
So, without further ado, here are several unique concepts that are altering the landscape of food and food production. You can still carry on enjoying all your favorite foods—that will never change. What will change is the effectiveness of manufacturing and the difficulties faced with some products.
An edible plant-based egg
We’re all aware of the many, many issues surrounding crowded chicken farms. These nightmarish places house more chickens than they can handle, which doesn’t benefit anyone. The animals suffer from poor living conditions, and we have to live with the knowledge that our boiled egg came from a less-than-humane source.
Enter Hampton Creek Foods, a forward-thinking food startup. Animal safety and protection is just as important as the price we pay for our foods, and they understand this. Backed by influential juggernauts like Bill Gates himself, Hampton Creek found a plant with similar properties to an egg.
What does this mean? Well, it means ‘Bye bye, eggs.’ Bye bye chicken farms, and poor living conditions for the animals. This plant has already been turned into an egg-based product, dubbed ‘Just Mayo’, which proves it’s a viable alternative.
Web giant Forbes even wrote an article about Hampton Creek, which discusses their entire story. The best ideas in the food industry will solve an issue, without changing much for the consumer. Just Mayo is exactly what it says on the tin—mayo—and to boot, it helps out an animal that was in dire need of it.
An online meat market
Locally-sourced meats, and foods in general, are essential to the survival of any local economy. Without these specialized butchers and farmers still in operation, the big chains could hike their prices up. If there was no competition, then why wouldn’t they?
Competition breeds creativity, and the need to best your rivals. The same is true of food, and food production, too. We constantly have to find ways to deliver the product to the retailers, and then you the consumers, as efficiently as possible. AgLocal, a five-year-old American startup, is doing just that.
Smaller business can’t afford to deliver their goods to a wide enough range of people to stay afloat. It’s also hard for them to deliver specialized products to the people who need them most. The same is true of meat and the meat industry.
To combat this issue, AgLocal developed an online meat market that allows farmers to connect directly with chefs. This way, farmers can sell quickly, efficiently and in bulk, making them more money. Chefs benefit, because they receive all the cuts they want. All around, everybody wins. AgLocal also ensures the farmers receive a fair price, rather than getting ripped off by some of the bigger retail chains.
How does this benefit the consumer? Well, as previously discussed, competition is key. We need competition to drive down prices and keep the playing field level. AgLocal allows these smaller farmers and businesses to stay open, meaning that prices can stay fair.
An easier time with the ketchup bottle
Yes, environmental and political issues are important, but sometimes, you just want your ketchup to come out.
That’s the concept behind LiquiGlide, a company that’s striving to make our sandwiches and chips a lot, lot tastier. Originally intended to be a car windshield coating, this product has since evolved into a food packaging solution. LiquiGlide, headed by CEO Dave Smith, created a lubricant used in glass or plastic that makes the contents easier to slip out.
This means there’ll be less food waste, as we’ll be able to get every last drop of sauce out of the bottle. No more whacking the top of it to no avail! This lubricant allows everything from mayonnaise to ketchup to come right out, eliminating frustration.
LiquiGlide has provided a stellar service to condiments, but it’s pursuing other fields too. Think medical, and other kinds of consumer products. So, the next time you can enjoy a delicious ketchup-coated BLT, thank your lucky stars that LiquiGlide exists.
An easier time gaining your beach bod
Protein is at the core of any successful workout routine. Whether you’re bodybuilding or toning up for summer, you’ll need plenty of the nutrient in order to grow and repair. One of the best sources of protein is milk, but it does come with certain caveats.
These involve high fat and sugar content, which make them less healthy than you’d like. They’re still packed with protein, but the fat and sugar make milk difficult to use regularly. Well, fortunately, this isn’t true anymore, thanks to veterinarian Mike McCloskey.
McCloskey runs Fairlife, and what they’re created is astounding. Using a special kind of system dubbed ‘membrane filtration’ the company has produced a high-protein milk with little fat. This milk also contains no lactose, meaning those who were lactose-intolerant may rejoice!
This drink is called Core Power, and you may have heard of it before. It was the official drink of the Winter Olympics back in 2014, and even Coca Cola is involved with the company. Fairlife continues to work on high protein, low sugar/fat milk to this day, and it’s a great idea that can help us stay fitter.
An even better meat alternative
Meat alternatives are nothing new, and I’m sure you’ve tried one before. This is because world meat production produces plenty of harmful gases. It’s also expected to double by 2050. That makes alternatives all the more important!
Enter Beyond Meat, and their meat alternative. Like other meat alternatives, it has a foundation of soy, but contains zero trans fats or antibiotics. It also more closely resembles a meaty texture than other alternatives too, which is great. One of the only reasons why many of us don’t eat alternatives is that they taste nothing like the real thing. Beyond Meat has fixed that!
Beyond Meat has been critically praised for its services to the treatment of animals—and rightly so! They even have several high-profile backers, with Bill Gates once again leading the charge. And the best thing is, even vegetarians can now know the delights of a well-cooked barbecue!
An even better world
That’s exactly what these companies and ideas are creating. We all eat, consume, and buy food every single day, and it’s important to remember where it comes from. A lot of foods damage animals, companies, and other people, and we must strive to fix these issues quickly.
Plus, it’s just nice to be able to enjoy food more and more. A lactose-intolerant person being able to finally enjoy a glass of milk is an incredible feat. Creating tastier meat alternatives and making sauces come out the bottle quicker, are brilliant ideas. Not everything has to be about saving the planet, or an animal. The little things really do add up, in time.
So, the next time you’re biting into something tasty, take a second and have a think about where it came from. You could quite easily be the next big thing in the food industry, if you put your mind to it. As all these companies have proven, there’s bound to be a way to improve something. It’s important we keep looking for these improvements, and that we never stop.
What do you think of these creative food ideas? Let us know in the comments down below!