Writer and Editor | London, UK | Contactable via: jemima@livekindly.co

“For billions of people, animal products are near the top of the list for their favorite foods, not to mention source of protein”.

So what do we do when the production of this food is the leading cause of countless environmental issues, including species extinction, Amazon destruction, water pollution and desertification?

What if we could solve these problems, without giving up a thing?

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For innovative brand Impossible Foods, the solution is exactly that. The company are behind the Impossible Burger, a completely plant-based patty which looks, feels and tastes like a conventional meat burger. Recently, reporter Catherine Cheney from Devex spoke to the CEO of Impossible Foods, Pat Brown, about his vision for the brand and for confronting “the biggest environmental issue the world faces: Animal farming”.

Recently, Impossible Foods appeared at the World Economic Forum, whose initiative discussed solutions in meeting food demands sustainably. As well as the aforementioned issues, animal agriculture is also responsible for a third of the world’s fresh water consumption and contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than every car, truck, plane and train in the world- combined.

Enter the Impossible Burger. Compared to conventional meat burgers, the dish uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and generates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, and uses “0% cows”.

These numbers matter, particularly to the developing world. Brown points out that in Africa, people are battling two crises at once. He explained to Devex that there are “people starving that have protein and iron deficiency, and irreplaceable ecosystems and natural habitats are being destroyed to expand animal agriculture”.

According to Brown, the impact of the meat industry also ties into global food security. Maybe this is because we are already growing enough food to feed 10 billion people, but at least 50% of the world’s grain is given to livestock. Or maybe it’s because a majority of starving children around the world (82%) live in countries where food is fed to animals, and the animals are eaten by Western nations.

To combat this, Brown wants to take the Impossible Burger to the countries that need the movement the most. On taking the product to Africa, he said: “So we want it to go get there as early as possible, even if it doesn’t make a tremendous amount of business sense”.

In fact, Brown has “zero interest in being in the business world at all”, or even in the food industry, he told Devex. It appears his vision expands further than profit but lies within real, influential changes.

“We have every intention, probably within next two or three years, that our product will be cheaper than the cheapest animal-based products on the market”.

Cheney said: “…there is tremendous conflict over land and water, which are needed in massive amounts for animal agriculture, but people will not make the switch away from meat unless there is an affordable and desirable alternative”.

“But for Brown is a growing recognition that this is a solvable problem, and the solution lies in not asking people to give up anything they love, but rather producing alternatives they love just as much, that are better for them and also for the world.”


Image Credit: Impossible Foods