Redefining Meat for a Sustainable Food System

There is a growing trend among consumers to look for foods that are nutritious, affordable, sustainably-produced and plant-based. The challenge is to scale up the development and availability of such foods, as there are very few products in the market that meet the sensory characteristics of what consumers are looking for. This is the view of Nick Halla, SVP, International for US-based Impossible Foods, who spoke in Singapore recently at Food Industry Asia’s (FIA) Food for the Future Summit on 26 April.

In a conversation with FIA, Nick shared how Impossible Foods is creating a more efficient and sustainable system by moving away from animals as a food input source, developing a ground meat substitute that tastes, looks and feels like what consumers are familiar with. Consumers are open as to whether their foods are derived from animals or plants, said Nick – what matters more will be how producers can deliver the texture, flavour and juiciness of meat that people love. Using the heme protein from a plant-based source, which Impossible Foods believes to be the answer to the richness of the taste and aroma of meat, Impossible Foods hopes to recreate the consumer experience of eating meat, minus the threat to the global environment.

Nick Halla (centre), speaking at a panel discussion on food innovation during the FIA Food for the Future summit. He believes that to be able to feed 10 billion people nutritiously, sustainably, and affordably by 2050, the world will not be using animals for food.

Successfully debuting in over 1,000 restaurants in the US, and recently launching in Hong Kong, Impossible Foods is set to expand throughout Asia over the coming years. Nick explained, “Asia is where around 44 per cent of the world's meat consumption is today, and growing fast. There are also food safety and security issues and getting access to protein and nutrients. Over the next couple of years we're going to be expanding really throughout Asia, because the demand for these products and demand for meat over here is increasing, so it's critical for us to start building a foothold.”

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