The technologists who brought you online dating, music streaming platforms, e-readers, and mobile phones are now tackling food production. As meat consumption is expected to double by 2020, next-generation food companies are focussed on finding substitutes for animal protein by mechanically stripping vegetables of their protein and combining the derivatives to make a tastier, more sustainable meat substitute. The environment would likely be better off for it:

"Animal protein is...the most vulnerable and resource-intensive part of the food supply. In addition to livestock production’s immense use of land and water, runoff pollution and antibiotic abuse, it is responsible for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gases, according to the United Nations."

Rather than old-fashioned experimenting in kitchens, the Silicon Valley food innovators have brought on former Google and YouTube project managers to crunch data, looking for which vegetable proteins would most satisfy our pallet. Curiously, the movement is at odds with our growing approbation of locally-grown, slowly prepared meals, and it's biggest obstacle may be the cultural significance of meat.

Though if the price is right, consumers are likely to flock to whichever alternative is more economical. As Aaron Patzer explains, we often sink would-be savings into more luxurious grocery shopping trips:

Read more at the New York Times

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