Chicken-Less Fried Chicken is Taking Over London

Since early this year, something strange has been happening at the corner of a humble stripmall in the London neighborhood of Hackney. Outside a new chicken takeaway called The Temple of Hackney, scores of people have been lining up for a seemingly simple lunch of fried chicken and hot sides. But this chicken joint is one like no other: all the flesh being served is actually made from plant proteins instead of birds, and this novel fact is actually making it one of the busiest new restaurants in all of London. 

Here are 5 reasons they're re-writing the rules of fast food. 

1. They're the 1st Ever

Fried chicken has exploded in popularity in recent years around London, with dozens of "chicken shops" devoted to sell this indulgent treat. But The Temple of Hackney is the first to venture into animal-free territory by crafting crispy filets and fried tenders from wheat and soy protein, which is then battered and blended with herbs and spices.   

                                                Look closely: no birds in sight! (Photo: rhiannonnorman)

                                               Look closely: no birds in sight! (Photo: rhiannonnorman)

2. They Learned Straight From The Master

Founder Rebecca McGuiness developed a taste for fried chicken when she worked at KFC. After going vegan, she still craved the Colonel's bottomless buckets of wings, so began making and selling her own using plant-only ingredients. Having enjoyed huge success at a farmer's market, she and her husband decided to launch a chicken takeaway.

                                                                      The fried lunch of kings

                                                                     The fried lunch of kings

3.  The Response Has Been Insane

Since opening in January, the shop has been overwhelmed by massive crowds, many of them waiting hours in bitter cold and rain to taste Temple of Hackney's chicken n' bacon subs, 2-piece fried chicken meals, roasted chicken rolls with gravy, and special mac 'n cheese.

                                                                     That's a lotta customers! 

                                                                  That's a lotta customers! 

4. It's Blocking the Butcher Next Door

Temple of Hackney's enthusiastic fans are so legion, they're often blocking the entrance to the Hackney Meat Center, a Muslim butcher shop located next door. The owner is not too happy with it.

                                           An unintended irony. (Photo: Time Out London)

                                        An unintended irony. (Photo: Time Out London)

5. It Actually Tastes Like Chicken

The reviews are in, and according to omnivores and vegans alike, Temple of Hackney's revolutionary fast food spot doesn't disappoint. Their small-batch, seasoned, chicken-less chicken is so good, they apparently have to assure some customers it really contains no traces of chicken.

                                                                  Gather 'round the feast!

                                                                Gather 'round the feast!

As this humble shop continues to see incredible demand, one thing is clear: there is a fast-growing audience for a new type of meat option, one where people can indulge in their favorite meat-centric dishes without guilt or worry about its toll on the environment, animal welfare or a host of other issues. Plant-based meat fits the bill as a cleaner, more creative way to heartily enjoy traditional comfort food, and as Temple of Hackney shows, chicken-less fried chicken can be as delightfully unhealthy as its conventional counterparts.




Memphis Meats Debuts the First Cell-Cultured Chicken, and Proves the Future is Delicious

                                                                 Photo: Memphis Meats

                                                               Photo: Memphis Meats

Clean-meat chicken is here, and thanks to plucky startup Memphis Meats, it appears finger-lickin' good. Following their historic success of the world's first cell-cultured meatball in 2016, Memphis Meats came out of stealth mode to shock the world with their latest meat feat: succulent chicken and duck meat that they farmed directly from cells instead of birds.

                                            Duck a L'Orange like never before  Photo: Memphis Meats

                                           Duck a L'Orange like never before Photo: Memphis Meats

According to Memphis Meats, the poultry was made by harmlessly harvesting starter cells from a living animal, then feeding the cells a rich mixture of sugars, minerals and oxygen. This allows the cells to grow into muscle fibers that form conventional meat, and when the fibers are big enough, they get combined into a piece of edible flesh, such as a chicken filet. It's the first time anyone has successfully produced real chicken or duck meat without the animals, and the news broke with a flashy press video by the Wall Street Journal.  

A group of 25 tasters were invited to give their take on this futuristic food, which was prettily plated by Chef Derek Sarno. The unanimous verdict: All declared both types of poultry dishes delicious and, indeed, the chicken tasted just like its namesake.

                Chef Sarno with Memphis Meats' Uma Valeti and Nick Genovese  Photo: Memphis Meats

               Chef Sarno with Memphis Meats' Uma Valeti and Nick Genovese Photo: Memphis Meats

Memphis Meats proudly keeps the entire cell-culturing process open and transparent, and say their products contain no artificial ingredients or are genetically modified. This "clean" chicken and duck is identical to traditional meat from animals, but unlike the industrial farming that makes most of today's meat, it offers far more sustainability, drastically reduces food contamination, and spares countless animals from the abuses of intensive agriculture. 

Memphis Meats also unveiled a first look at the possible packaging design of their future products, which they hope to release commercially in the year 2021.

         Coming soon: Clean meat to go!  Photo: Memphis Meats

        Coming soon: Clean meat to go! Photo: Memphis Meats

There you have it. Clean meat has surpassed another major milestone and proven chicken-less chicken can be totally delicious. Colonel Sanders would be intrigued. 

With Fast-Building Rollout, The Impossible Burger is Set to Take Beef By Storm in 2017

  What a burger! The plant-based Impossible Burger has arrived at the  BareBurger  chain

What a burger! The plant-based Impossible Burger has arrived at the BareBurger chain

With the recent launch of the Impossible Burger at BareBurger, a popular organic burger chain, Impossible Foods has taken another massive step towards mainstreaming their revolutionary plant-based beef burgers. After making history last month by landing at a pair of lauded New York City restaurants, including the Michelin-starred Public, it in short order debuted at the fast-casual BareBurger on March 1st.

Previously restricted to mostly high-end restaurants, this latest move marked the burger's break into an actual restaurant chain, edging it ever closer to mainstream status. Though initially only available through their flagship restaurant at LaGuardia Place, BareBurger plans to release it in all of their 43 locations as Impossible Foods continues to increase production. 

Made from plant proteins and fats, the Impossible Burger is a groundbreaking product that recreates the look, taste, and texture of beef, but uses significantly less land, water, and energy than animal farming. It's received over $150 million in major investments from such figures as Bill Gates, La-Ki Shing and Khosla Ventures.

                             BareBurger Head Chef Jonathan Lemon cookin' up the future of food!

                           BareBurger Head Chef Jonathan Lemon cookin' up the future of food!

And they're just just getting started: Beginning March 23rd, Impossible's meat revolution will continue as it launches at three new California restaurants: Oakland's KronnerBurger , Public House in San Francisco's AT&T Park, and Vina Enoteca in Palo Alto. Soon after that news came the announcement they will soon scale up to producing 4 million burgers each month, thanks to a new and improved production plant.

The age of new, more intelligent food is dawning, and as this wondrous product introduces more consumers to the idea of eating better meat, the future of food is well on its way to the present.

One Small Step for a Burger, One Giant Leap for Meat Innovation

It is February 2017 ,and in less than a year, we've already witnessed 2 major  leaps forward for meat innovation. First, in May 2016 Beyond Meat convinced Whole Foods to place the plant protein-based Beyond Burger smack-dab in the middle of their meat department, a bold and unprecedented move that finally took high-quality plant meats outside the hippie-dippy "Alternative Meats" section and allowed them to directly compete with animal-based counterparts for shoppers' attention.

And now this: The Impossible Burger, the famed "bleeding" veggie burger-that's-not-a-veggie burger made by Silicon Valley geniuses at Impossible Foods has earned a Michelin star. Sort of. For those not in the know, a Michelin star is the Academy Awards of the culinary profession - it is a chef's highest aspiration to have their restaurant mentioned in the annual French-based Michelin guide next to one of these rarefied stars - which actually sort of resembles a flower or Yelp logo. What a Nobel Prize is to a physicist, or an Olympic medal to an athlete, so naturally goes a Michelin star for any chef. As such, it carries incalculable weight in the elite world of food criticism, which heretofore, has been defined solely by animal-based gastronomy. The idea of plant-based meats has never entered the conversation of fine, serious eating. So for the animal-free Impossible Burger to arrive, as it did on February 1st, at two vaunted New York City establishments, including the Michelin-starred The Public, is major news. 

               It doesn't get much bigger than this. 

             It doesn't get much bigger than this. 

More background on the Impossible Burger: Since launching at NYC's Momofuku Nishi last summer, this meticulously made burger is actually just plant proteins and fats, but looks, tastes, and delightfully oozes like medium rare beef. But unlike cattle, it requires only a fraction of the land, water and energy to produce, and emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases. It's also antibiotic and hormone-free and obviously, much kinder to cows.

It's generated huge waves in several notable New York, San Francisco and L.A. restaurants where it's appearing in a strategically slow rollout. But it's the latest arrival at Chef Brad Farmiere's The Public and Saxon + Parole that's really made its culinary credits official, and elevating plant-based meats to a new realm of respect.

                               Raising the bar for plant-based meats. Photo: Impossible Foods

                             Raising the bar for plant-based meats. Photo: Impossible Foods

It's fascinating to note the burger's looks have changed significantly since the first launch at Momofuku Nishi last summer: It's apparently doubled in size and now resembles a fancy gastopub-esque burger - heftier and meatier than ever before. For a bonafide burger obsessee like myself, this development is quite exciting indeed. At The Public, it's being served up with a spicy Middle East-inspired curry sauce, a small garden of greens and traditional cheddar, while Saxon + Parole lovingly heaps their patty with generous mushrooms, onions and truffle oil.

                   Make it delicious,and they will come: The Public's rendition of the Impossible Burger

                 Make it delicious,and they will come: The Public's rendition of the Impossible Burger

Like its other debuts, the reviews for this launch have been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, except for a segment of seasoned food critics. For them, an ambitious product like the Impossible Burger must be compared to the best cuts of beef already out there, and against these very high standards, they find it falls short. But that is only because this burger represents the first iteration - Impossible Foods is continuously working on and improving their product, and intend to make it every bit as juicy, fatty, and indulgent as dry-aged Angus, Wagyu or any other type of prime beef available. Just like cattle were bred and "improved" over generations to make their flesh more tender, flavorful and appealing, so too The Impossible Burger is being diligently worked on and perfected. Just give them more time. 

                                                                 Photo: Impossible Foods

                                                               Photo: Impossible Foods

Until then, the popular success of the Impossible Burger proves humanity is making huge strides in replacing destructive animal-based meat with new, more sustainable and humane products. From Whole Foods meat customers now eyeing the benefits of plant-based protein against beef, to Cockscomb and Saxon + Parole - two very animal-centric restaurants - proudly featuring an cow-free burger at the top of their menus, attitudes toward better meat production are shifting in a new, positive direction.  

Lastly, chew on this: The power of intelligent and creative food innovation to change the world could not be more obvious, as these two burgers have made such huge progress in a relatively short amount of time. And as consumers who believe in fundamentally changing our food system, it's our job to energetically promote and encourage it.

                                                      Long live meat innovation! Photo: Impossible Foods

                                                    Long live meat innovation! Photo: Impossible Foods

17 Ways 2017 Will Rock Meat, Dairy and Eggs

                      Memphis Meats is making meat from cells instead of animals.    Memphis Meats

                    Memphis Meats is making meat from cells instead of animals. Memphis Meats

By Janay Laing

Today, most meat, milk and eggs come from huge, destructive and inhumane farms. But if this group of fearless and ingenious innovators get their way, 2017 is going to change all that, and make animal products more healthy, sustainable and humane. Let's go!

1. Memphis Meats' "First Bite" campaign will introduce cell-cultured meat to the masses  

2. More gloriously bloody, plant-based Impossible Burgers are coming

  Miranda Bryant/ Impossible Foods /Vice Munchies

Miranda Bryant/Impossible Foods/Vice Munchies

3.  A plant-based burger is now in Whole Foods' meat department.

4. The beefy Range-Free Burger is launching in restaurants around the country

5. The animal-free Herbivorous Butcher, Butcher's Son, The Very Good Butchers and more are changing the butchery game

6.  Plant-based BBQ and deli shops are coming to Brooklyn and Miami

7. The Herbivorous Butcher's plant meats will get a test ride as future food for missions to Mars

8. With "Butcherless" catering, Brits are getting new bacon

9. plant-based chicken has been selling out in London

10.   In Canada, a vegan Big Mac IS JUST AS POPULAR

  Globally Local

Globally Local

11.  On the seafood side, New Wave Foods is making better shrimp from plants

12.       Tomato Sushi? Hotter than wasabi.

13. It's official: A new generation of meat innovators has arrived!

 14.  Perfect Day Foods is launching the first real milk without cows

15. Better cold-brew lattes are coming your way thanks to Willow Cup

16. The Not company is making plant-based mayo with artificial intelligence

17. Tyson, the world's biggest meat processor, just bought stock in plant meats and opened a fund for exploring new proteins. 

Here's to a year of innovation, and making meat, dairy and eggs better!

For the latest on meat, dairy and egg innovation, follow The New Omnivore on Facebook, and Twitter + Instagram @ TheNewOmnivore

Miami's Plant Butcher Grabs the Spotlight

  Ryan Bauhaus -

Ryan Bauhaus -

By Janay Laing

The New Omnivore is proudly based in Miami, and recently our own local plant butcher, Atlas-Free Deli, was featured on the popular Channel 7 newscast. In the piece, chef and co-owner Ryan Bauhaus gives the low-down on how he crafts delicious plant-only burgers and sandwiches using fresh grains and produce. They then ventured the beach to test-taste his food in realtime with some everyday beachgoers. The verdict? Check out the very entertaining reactions here.

I'm also pleased to announce Bauhaus will become the first plant-based chef to compete at this year's South Beach Food and Wine Festival Burger Bash in February. Let's hope he brings his A-game, duly smashes the competition, and starts a plant-burger trend in the 305!

                              One mighty fine cow-free burger. Photo: Atlas Meat-Free Deli

                            One mighty fine cow-free burger. Photo: Atlas Meat-Free Deli

For the latest in meat, dairy and egg innovation, follow me on Facebook, and Twitter and Instagram @TheNewOmnivore

Bill Gates Blesses Meat Innovation

By Janay Laing

On a recent appearance on CNBC, Bill Gates, the almighty voice for futuristic tech and innovation,  officially decreed his support for reinventing meat using plants and technology, as a means to stop both climate change and the abuse of farmed animals. His support for these products and the companies making them isn't exactly news - Gates was an early supporter of high-quality plant meats in 2009, when he invested in startup Beyond Meat and enthusiastically endorsed their chicken products. 

But as meat innovation continues its rise to the mainstream, it's always nice to hear a solid endorsement from one of the mightiest and most influential voices of our time. 

Look for it at the 10:15 mark:

Year in Review: How 2016 Changed Meat, Dairy and Eggs Forever

From politics and sports to science, technology and pop culture, 2016 was truly a year for the record books. But no where did it have a greater impact than in the exploding world of meat, dairy and egg innovation, where a group of bold and visionary entrepreneurs, chefs, and scientists sparked a revolution to make animal protein better.

From the world's first cultured meatball to the launch of realistic plant-based sushi, here's a look at all the amazing innovations and happenings in 2016, and what we can look forward to in the New Year. 

1. Startup City

 A whole host of new startups debuted or unveiled their game-changing products this year, including Memphis Meats' cultured meatball, New Wave Foods' plant-based shrimp and Geltor's animal-free gelatin.

2. A Burger Revolution
Two plant-based "bleeding" burgers - the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger - debuted to major press and critical praise, while Rephyll, another plant-based"raw" burger, took home a top innovation award in Canada.

3. Plant Butchers = Unstoppable
Plant Butchers continued their ascent to the mainstream, with shops like The Herbivorous Butcher and The Butcher's Son opening their doors to long lines and hordes of media gawkers. The success of Monk's Meats and Atlas Meat-Free Deli has propelled these shops to open their first brick-and-mortar locations in 2017, while UK-based Sgaia Foods launched the UK's first catering service specializing in premium plant meats.

4. Driving Cultured Meat Forward
Pioneering non-profit New Harvest saw incredible growth and successes in 2016, from staging the world's first conference on cellular agriculture in July to opening their very first lab for cultured meat!

5. Where No Plant Meats Have Gone Before
A visiting scientist with the Mars Research Station was so impressed with The Herbivorous Butcher's plant meats, he asked them to supply meals for a 2017 Mars desert simulation, with the possibility of one day taking these products into space!

6. Fake Meat Goes Viral
Australia's Alt Meats decided to prove the worth of their products by going undercover to feed some unsuspecting carnivores plant-based kebabs. The Aussies' reactions were priceless, and it quickly went viral!

7. Big Mac Daddy
In Canada, a vegan Big Mac beat out McDonald's in a blind taste test, while another Canadian outfit serving veg Big Mac's has proven so popular, it has inspired Canada's first plant-only fast food eatery, opening in early '17.

8. Better Seafood Makes a Splash
Sustainable, plant-based seafood got a big boost with the launch of Tomato Sushi in 14 Fresh & Co. eateries throughout New York City.

9. Closer to Reality
In June, the National Academies of Science convened an unprecedented meeting to update government regulations on biotechnology, including future products like cultured meat. New Harvest's Isha Datar attended to provide expert insight.

10. The Machine Turns
 You know the future is bright when titans like Tyson Foods invest inplant-based meat, and then launch their own venture fund to explore new proteins. Similarly, venture capital fund Power Plant also broke ground in 2016 to back entrepreneurs building a better future with plants.

11. Cows Can Go Home
 Animal-free dairy is set to have a huge year in 2017 thanks to Perfect Day Foods and Willow Cup, two startups formulating real, creamy, crave-able dairy from cultured milk protein or plants. Meanwhile,Ripple, a pea-based milk that debuted in Target this summer, is expanding to some 4,000 stores nationwide.

12. Eggs Get a Makeover
 The Chilean-based NotCo released revolutionary mayo products made with A.I.-selected plant ingredients, and are looking to expand globally.
Though they saw some controversy this year, Hampton Creek's pea-based Just Mayo is still the critics' choice, with tasters from America's Test Kitchen giving it a big thumbs up.

13. Plant Meat Upstarts
Several smaller plant meat companies continued to sprout this year:Yeah Dawg! launched nationwide shipping for their popular plant-only hot dogs, St. Louis's Match Meats announced their beefy new Range-Free Burger, while Taft Foods became Eleni's Modern Mediterranean, which is expanding distribution of its award-winning gyros and schwarma.

14. A Good Food Revolution

2016 saw the launch of the first non-profit dedicated to promoting plant and culture-based animal products. The Good Food Institute, headed by Bruce Friedrich, seeks to expand the market for animal-free meat, dairy and eggs by launching new startups, lobbying for better food policies, and working with institutions and retailers to offer more plant-based options. In September, they received an incredible $1,000,000 grant to support their work.

15. The New Omnivore
If you have any doubt the future of food arrived in 2016, look no further than writer Nick Pachelli. In December, he penned a passionate and poignant piece about his journey from plant-meat skeptic to believer, and how the food revolution begun by Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and others helped him realize the horrors of modern animal agriculture, and embrace new meat.

This was truly an amazing year that will be remembered as the one where animal protein innovation really took flight.
The stage is set for an incredible 2017, and I can't wait to see what's in store.

Happy New Year everyone!

Janay Laing
The New Omnivore


Sia Sings Impossible Burger's Praises

Ever since the Impossible Burger launched on the West Coast in mid-October, foodies, techpreneurs, thought leaders and influencers of all stripes have rushed onto social media upon their first bite to exclaim their happy amazement at how great this plant-based burger tastes.  But of all the ringing endorsements so far, perhaps none is as big (or adorable) as the one from Sia, who apparently had the burgers specially catered during her recently-wrapped 2016 tour. 

Sia may love cheap thrills, but also goes wild for an amazing plant-based burger! 

                                    Endorsement in signature Sia style. Photo:  Impossible Foods

                                  Endorsement in signature Sia style. Photo: Impossible Foods

Impossible Burger Truck Makes Surprise Visit to SF Park

  Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown in front of new truck

Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown in front of new truck

If you were near Dolores Park in San Francisco last week and hankering for a juicy burger, but short of cash, you were in luck. The plant-based beef people at Impossible Foods just so happened to  be rolling into town with their very own custom-fitted truck to dish out their famous cow-free burger to the unsuspecting masses. What’s more, this impromptu mini-food fest was completely free.

That’s right - Impossible Foods footed the bill so dozens (hundreds?) of everyday San Franciscans could get a first-hand taste of their revolutionary new burger.

                             All plants, baby - except the cheese, but they want to make that from plants, too.

                           All plants, baby - except the cheese, but they want to make that from plants, too.

For those not in the know, the Impossible Burger is the world’s first realistic burger made entirely from plant ingredients. It looks, cooks, tastes and even bleeds like conventional raw beef. But unlike it's animal-based counterpart, requires far fewer environmental resources to produce, burns fewer fossil fuels, and is much cleaner and more humane.

 The burger was launched in limited supply in New York this past summer, then in San Francisco and LA last month. So far, the mainstream taste reviews have been outstanding, and as Impossible Foods slowly ramps up production and expands its release, the Impossible Burger is poised to have a major impact on food culture and how people view meat.

For now, it’s only available in select restaurants in the aforementioned cities, but Impossible is really showing their generous, humanitarian side by bringing this coveted burger – which has created crowded lines – to average city folk on a casual Friday night. From the looks of their recap video, the event appeared to be a resounding success, and gave lots of curious Bay residents a juicy and satisfying taste of the future.

Summer Rewind 2016 - The Herbivorous Butcher

By Janay Laing

                                                  The Herbivorous Butchers with Guy Fieri

                                                The Herbivorous Butchers with Guy Fieri

The first breezes of fall may have officially blown, but it's never too late to take a retrospective on this past epic summer. First, we'll look back to July 15, when America's first plant-only butcher shop, The Herbivorous Butcher, made a splashing debut on The Food Network. 

Since they launched their ambitious, animal-free meat shop at the beginning of the year, the Herbivorous  Butcher has been mobbed by the mainstream press, many of whom seemed to struggle getting the very idea of animal-free meat. But Kale and Aubrey Walch, the brother and sister team behind the concept, happily showed how it was done. By taking high-quality plant proteins, and adding their own mix of oils, spices, and seasonings, they cook and hand-craft delicious burgers, ribs, sausages and more, completely from scratch.

                                    A look inside Herbivorous Butcher's deli case

                                  A look inside Herbivorous Butcher's deli case

All the white-hot attention soon caught the eye of the Food Network, who commissioned an episode of the popular "Diners, Drive-In's and Dives" to feature the Minneapolis eatery. Soon after, host and chef Guy Fieri journeyed up to Minnesota to interview the Walches and get an up-close look at their very unique enterprise. 

                                                             Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives host, Guy Fieri

                                                           Drive-Ins, Diners and Dives host, Guy Fieri

He then journeyed into the kitchen to witness food alchemy in action, as Kale demonstrated their technique for turning high-protein wheat flour into impressive stacks of seasoned deli turkey and pastrami. Fieri seemed wowed by the results and gave Kale an official congrats for being the "Columbus" of plant meat exploration. Enjoy the full episode here.

Up next for Summer Rewind 2016 - Willow Cup launches premium cow-free milk!

Meat Innovation = Awesome

                                                         (Conventional) meats for sale

                                                        (Conventional) meats for sale

From its striking colors, beautiful striations, and amazing layers of marbling and fat, meat is truly an wondrous thing. That's why figuring out how to culture it without animals is such an exciting challenge! 

For cultured meat researchers, meat's complex structure of muscle fibers and intricate network of blood vessels and fat cells are like a massive puzzle to be carefully studied, understood and painstakingly reproduced. Thankfully, this crucial investigational work has already begun, and we can look forward to a day when large cuts of meat, like the steaks and chops above, are grown directly from cultured tissue, no animals necessary! 

Innovating meat and making it better and more sustainable is a bit like scaling Mount Everest - a daunting challenge with many serious obstacles, but the long, hard struggle is well worth reaching the summit! 

A New Startup Wants to Make Your Milk "Perfect"

There may be no product as closely associated with wholesome virtue and innocence as a refreshing glass of milk. For 100 years or so, drinking milk has represented a simple ideal of bucolic farms, old-time animal husbandry, and honest-to-goodness nourishment. Unfortunately, the actual picture of the modern dairy farm is far less quaint. Today, most milk comes from massive industrial operations, where hundreds or thousands of cows on crowded farms are made to produce unnaturally large quantities of milk in a near-constant, year-round cycle.

  Inside a modern dairy farm "milking room", where cows are milked automatically by machines

Inside a modern dairy farm "milking room", where cows are milked automatically by machines

It’s a system designed to maximize milk output, but comes at a huge expense to the environment, food safety, and animal welfare.  Dairy cows consume enormous amounts of water, produce massive amounts of waste, and their bodies are a potent source of methane– a major greenhouse gas.                                                                                                                         In addition, due to ever-present bacteria on farms and in cows' udders, milk is one of the most highly contaminated food products, which, even post-pasteurization, can carry Listeria, Salmonella, and E. Coli, while bodily fluids like blood and even pus have been found inside milk products.                                                                                                                             Perhaps most unfortunately, dairy cows themselves often endure a host of inhumane practices, including artificial insemination, intensive milk production, and forceful separation from their calves. The regimen of industrial milking is so exhaustive – the modern cow now produces about 20,000 lbs of milk every year – most animals are "spent" after about 5 years, and are subsequently sent to slaughter.

                                          A modern dairy feedlot: Not so idyllic - Photo:

                                        A modern dairy feedlot: Not so idyllic - Photo:

But Perfect Day Foods intends to change all that. Begun by Ryan Pandya and Perumal Gandhi, this first-of-its-kind startup plans to take dairy where it’s never gone before: from large, unsustainable farms to the bold new space of biotech. Using special yeast that "ferment" the unique proteins found in cow’s milk, Perfect Day says they’re producing dairy milk - the basis of a global, $500 billion industry - in an entirely new and better way, without needing a single cow.


The process begins with two singular proteins: casein and whey. These magical molecules help give dairy products their delightful taste, luscious mouthfeel, and in the case of cheese, remarkable abilities to melt, stretch, and do some amazing Maillard reactions on hot pizza. Casein and whey are what make milk milky and cheese cheesey, and their absence from plants explains why most non-dairy alternatives suffer from boring taste and texture.

So to produce milk that could realistically compete with cows, Gandhi and Pandya set out to make casein and whey using yeast instead of bovines. They accomplished this by taking specific cow's genes and inserting them into a special strain of yeast (nicknamed "Buttercup"), which then uptakes the genetic code, and after consuming sugar, outputs the desired protein. Since the process involves yeast converting sugar into different molecules, Gandhi and Pandya proudly call the protein action "fermentation." 

             Cow's milk proteins are fermented by yeast, then combined with fat, sugar, water, nutrients

           Cow's milk proteins are fermented by yeast, then combined with fat, sugar, water, nutrients

Once they've created a satisfactory amount, the yeast get removed, and the brand new whey or casein proteins get added to water and plant-based fats and sugars, yielding milk.

                                                Co-Founder Perumal Gandhi samples a test batch

                                              Co-Founder Perumal Gandhi samples a test batch

Gandhi and Pandya are well-aware of public skepticism towards anything remotely "genetic" and "modified", so are staying completely open and transparent about the process, trusting  once people understand its many benefits compared to industrial farming, they'll become believers. (Though it’s interesting to note, since none of the modified yeast goes into the milk, the final product is actually non-GMO.)

And what are these many benefits? According to Perfect Day, their product tastes the same as traditional milk, but uses only a fraction of the land, water, and energy consumed by dairy large farms, and because it comes from a controlled, sterile environment, it's a much cleaner, safer product that requires less pasteurization and boasts a longer shelf life. Nutritionally, it's brimming with the same robust protein, vitamins, and minerals found in cow's milk, and for those who can't digest dairy, they've made it 100% lactose-free. 

And because Perfect Day's product is molecularly identical to the real stuff, it offers a blank slate for crafting nearly every dairy indulgence imaginable, from milkshakes, cheesecakes and full-fat Greek yogurt to sour cream, butter, savory dressings, and of course, cheese - in every glorious form, shape, and color. It's the wow without the cow. 

                             The many possibilities for Perfect Day's cow-free milk products

                           The many possibilities for Perfect Day's cow-free milk products

What about food regulations? As it stands, milk is specifically defined by the FDA as "lacteal secretions" obtained by milking a cow, and it makes no provisions for animal-free alternatives. To sidestep this definition, Perfect Days plans (for now) to market their product as "animal-free". However, as research into cultured milk and other animal products rapidly advances, and these products inch closer to appearing on consumer markets, these definitions will likely change.

Just this summer, the National Academy of Sciences convened a special meeting of biotech innovators and experts to discuss the oncoming disruption of biotech in the food space, and forecast how these products might be labelled. Thus, the winds of regulatory change are quietly blowing, and for their part, Gandhi and Pandya say they've already begun similar talks with the FDA.

                     Milkmen:  Perfect Day's Perumal Gandhi and Ryan Pandya. (Photo: Jennifer Andersen)

                   Milkmen:  Perfect Day's Perumal Gandhi and Ryan Pandya. (Photo: Jennifer Andersen)

So when will the public get its first taste of this new dairy innovation? Perfect Day plans to release their first product sometime in late 2017, and though it will likely be priced similar to premium organic dairy products, they hope to drive those costs down and eventually become price-competitive with regular milk.

To that end, it sounds like they might already be making progress: According to Food Navigator, they're in talks with several major dairy companies about possible partnership, which could greatly enhance their product manufacturing and distribution capabilities. 

In the meantime, for all those who have been seeking a new way to indulge in their cheese or ice cream addiction without the environmental, contamination, or animal welfare baggage of conventional dairy farming, it looks like a new day could be dawning. And if Perfect Day has truly worked a miracle and made beloved dairy products even better, they will wait for it 'til the cows come home. 

Meat, Dairy and Egg Innovation: Shooting for the Moon

Nothing worth doing usually comes easy, and changing an entire food system is definitely no simple task. It’s filled with major challenges, uncertainties, and risks - but that’s why we do it. Because if it were easy, everyone would have done it already. 

It takes vision, courage and bold faith to go after hard and seemingly impossible things, and that’s exactly what meat, dairy and egg innovation is all about. And saving the planet, human health, and billions of animals is definitely worth it.

And as JFK said in 1962 as he spoke of the race to the moon, it's only by pushing our limits and exploring the unknown can we truly know who we are, and what we're capable of. 

So keep innovating and pushing limits, in whatever you do, not because it’s easy, but precisely because it is hard.  

New Harvest Recaps Amazing Cell Culturing Event

On July 13th, New Harvest hosted the world's first conference devoted entirely to cell culturing - the rapidly growing technology that uses animal or microbial cells to directly make animal products like meat, milk, leather, egg whites, gelatin and more without industrial farming.

Over 300 attendees from around the world gathered at San Francisco's Golden Gate Club to watch, learn and discover the incredible advancements happening in this exciting new field.

                                       New Harvest CEO Isha Datar on the  New Harvest 2016  stage

                                     New Harvest CEO Isha Datar on the New Harvest 2016 stage

                                                 Attendees packed in for this first-ever event

                                               Attendees packed in for this first-ever event

Check out the awesome recap below: 

Meet the "Life-Changing" New Burger People Are Lining Up For

By janay laing

                                                                          The Impossible Burger

                                                                        The Impossible Burger


A little over two weeks ago, David Chang broke new culinary ground when he introduced the Impossible Burger at his Momofuku Nishi restaurant in New York. Normally a chef adding a new burger to a menu isn’t particularly newsworthy, except this happened to be a menu item like no other: the Impossible Burger is the 5-years-in-the-making product of Impossible Foods, a California startup that openly aims to disrupt conventional, unsustainable meat production by making meat from plants instead of animals. If this sounds radical to you, many New Yorkers seemed to agree, and were highly skeptical when Impossible Foods announced the burger’s launch at Momofuku Nishi in July. The food media dismissed it as merely a newfangled veggie burger, a more sophisticated version of typical bland vegetable patties.

But as great innovations go, some things must be seen (or eaten) to be believed. That’s because, using state-of-the-art food analysis, Impossible Foods worked tirelessly for those five years to craft something never done before: a plant-based burger that actually tastes like a burger, complete with medium-rare pinkness, golden caramelized crust, fatty juiciness and all.

                                                                       Photo: Impossible Foods

                                                                     Photo: Impossible Foods

But even with enticing publicity photos and Chef Chang’s famous name, most NY diners were not completely convinced. That is, until, they actually sat down for a bite of this most unusual burger, and one by one, seemed to undergo a sort of gastronomic epiphany. Whether it was the sheer surprise at its taste, the freakishness of a pink/bloody center in a meat-free burger, or deeper ruminations about its possible impact, these are some of the best reactions yet:

The Astonished

“I had [The Impossible Burger] yesterday, and it was life-changing” Ezra Klein,

“The taste is unreal…I was floored.” Lindsay Hoshaw, NPR

“It was definitely not a veggie burger” declared Linette Lopez of Business Insider, adding it was, “very, very good” and “an exciting development.”

On How much It Resembles Beef

“The taste of the product in itself was what made me a believer. Sinking my teeth into a juicy, perfectly textured inarguably delicious cheeseburger, I am 90% certain I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t beef.”

Jesse Hirsch, Edible Manhattan

“Aside from the texture being slightly –and only slightly — off, it tasted pretty much like meat. Even more convincing, though, was the meat juice that soaked into the bottom half of the bun, which had a lush and full beefy taste, more real than real.”

Matthew Herper,

“It definitely holds up to a beef burger…If you didn’t tell me this wasn’t real meat, I probably wouldn’t have guessed.”

Jeanette Settembre, NY Daily News

                                                          Photo: Ben Gilbert/Tech Insider

                                                        Photo: Ben Gilbert/Tech Insider

Some Compared It to Other Famous Burgers

“I’d put this burger up in a blind taste test against the best from Shake Shack or In ‘n Out” said Ben Gilbert of Tech Insider, adding: “I literally ate a Shake Shack burger the night before, and would happily have eaten the Impossible Foods Burger... instead.”

And While Some Were Genuinely Inspired…

“Humans will keep getting better at this (and) we’ll add something that is good for our bodies and the planet."

Linette Lopez, Business Insider

Others Were Completely Lost

“So the entire time, you’re confused because how could something so meaty be plant-based, but it tastes good, so you can’t stop eating even as you’re having a minor existential crisis, wondering what even is reality anymore.”

Maxine Builder, Extra Crispy

                        How did they make meat from plants?? (Photo: Maxine Builder/ Extra Crispy)

                      How did they make meat from plants?? (Photo: Maxine Builder/ Extra Crispy)

But overall, everyone seems to agree this is a true game-changer

“Given the option of a regular burger or an Impossible Burger, I’d choose the latter 8 out of 10 times — because it’s that good to my palate and the planet,” declared The Revelist’s April Walloga, adding: “Indeed if this catches on, it could truly change the world.”

Jesse Hirsch:

“…perhaps I just wasn’t visionary enough, or didn’t really process this burger’s potential impact. If Impossible Foods can scale on a level that reduces its price to the level of standard supermarket beef… this thing does have the potential to effect real change.”

Maxine Builder:

“ With this high-tech option, it’s kind of cool to eat meat — a conversation starter.”

And Jeannette Settembre:

“I won’t stop eating my Shake Shack, but I can say I’m open to turning over a new leaf.”

The advent of the Impossible Burger represents a major breakthrough for sustainable food innovation, and may soon provide a new option for those looking to consume conventional foods in a new and better way.

But if these reactions are any indication, Impossible Foods' hard-fought quest to create the world's first delicious plant-based burger has truly paid off.

 As the old saying goes: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”



What a Summer (So Far!)

As Summer 2016 winds down, it's a good time to pause and take stock of just what an amazing few months it's been for animal-free food innovation. The best part is, things are just getting started! Besides the many other exciting innovations this year, like Memphis Meats' first cultured meatball, the re-branding of dairy startup Perfect Day Foods, and the introduction of a new plant-based beef burger in Canada, 3 events in particular stand out as real headliners:

Impossible Foods Launches Impossible Burger in NYC

                       The Impossible Burger debuted at David Chang's Momofuku Nishi

                     The Impossible Burger debuted at David Chang's Momofuku Nishi

                                 Chowing down on the Impossible Burger ( Photo: Erin B, )

                               Chowing down on the Impossible Burger (Photo: Erin B,

A bleeding veggie burger. Fake meat-real meat. Meat-that's-not-meat. Whatever you call it, the Impossible Burger is making huge waves as the first ever plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like  beef. It's an amazing development, one so unusual and unprecedented, many diners are still trying to fully comprehend the burger and what to call it.

But make no mistake, this new burger is getting ready to take on conventional meat, and will make its debut in San Francisco and LA in the fall, followed by a steady expansion after that. 

Ripple Debuts in Target Stores

Plant-milk startup Ripple officially launched in Target in July, making their creamy, nutritious pea protein-based milk available to a new and bigger audience (they first launched in Whole Foods.)

 Ripple for sale at Target stores. (Photo:

Ripple for sale at Target stores. (Photo:

Ripple's products are derived from plentiful, sustainable, and protein-rich Canadian yellow peas, which provide 2-3 times more protein than almond milk, the most popular dairy alternative in the country. Also, Ripple's products require a fraction of the water conventional cow's dairy uses, and provide the same calcium and Vitamin D, all with a smooth and creamy taste. Drink up! 

Hampton Creek Goes for Gold

                           Hampton Creek's popular mayo (Photo:  Di Bruno Bros .)

                         Hampton Creek's popular mayo (Photo: Di Bruno Bros.)

This is the summer of the Rio Olympics, and it's a fitting comparison for Hampton Creek, the startup making egg products like mayo and cookie dough from plants. In the spring, they announced ambitious plans to add 500 new products to their line in the coming years, including the much-anticipated liquid scramble product, Just Scramble. 

In the meantime, they're rolling out 40 new products in 2016, including new flavors of mayo and cookie dough, as well as packaged cookies and cake mixes. For their drive and relentless vision for better food, they're solid gold winners in our book. 

Here's to one awesome summer,and for what fall might have in store next!