2013-03-25

Co.Exist

The 3 Companies That Bill Gates Thinks Are Shaping The Future Of Food

If Gates has his way we’re going beyond eggs and meat, using new substitutes that taste the same but that we can make in a lab instead of a farm, so we can feed the entire planet. And then we’re also going to make salt healthy, while we’re at it.

Bill Gates is into food. He’s spent millions backing genetically modified crops that will either feed or destroy the developing world, depending on who you talk to. And if a feature on his website is to be believed, Gates is really interested in using technology to transition humans away from meat, eggs, and heart-unhealthy sodium--and towards fake versions that taste just like the real thing.

In the Future of Food, a new interactive piece on the Gates Notes, Gates lists companies that he believes are "creating healthful plant-based alternatives that taste just like eggs, chicken, and other sources of protein." Take note: Beyond Meat, Hampton Creek, and Nu-Tek Food Science could be the big names in tomorrow’s food industry.

Beyond Meat

We first wrote about Beyond Meat, a startup backed by Obvious Corporation (an incubator created by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone and the company’s former VP of Product, Jason Goldman), last year. The company makes vegan meat products that feel and taste real enough that Stone told us, "For people who are actually repulsed by meat, they’re not going to like this."

The company’s first product--Chicken-Free Strips--contain soy, but future products could replace the controversial ingredient with things like lupin, barley, and mustard seed protein. You can find Beyond Meat products at Whole Foods throughout the U.S.

Hampton Creek Foods

Hampton Creek Foods is responsible for an egg substitute called, appropriately enough, Beyond Eggs. The product looks like a grayish-green powder (it needs to be hydrated before consumption) and contains all sorts of egg-less matter, including canola, peas, and sunflower lecithin. But it reportedly tastes real--so real that Hampton is selling the Beyond Eggs product to two Fortune 500 companies, one of which doesn’t plan on advertising the fact that its products will be egg-free. We can’t blame them for wanting to make the switch--Beyond Eggs costs 18% less than the real thing.

You’ll be able to purchase Beyond Eggs on the company’s website soon. Stay tuned.

Nu-Tek Food Science

Nu-Tek is trying to solve a simple but overwhelming problem for high-blood-pressure-prone Americans (and people in general): high salt intake. The company sells a product, Nu-Tek Potassium Chloride (NPC), that supposedly tastes just like salt, but with 50% of the sodium content. Other Nu-Tek salt replacement products can blend with sea salt and regular salt. If you happen to work in the field of "sodium reduction product development," you can request a sample of Nu-Tek’s products here.

Skeptics might complain that these products are the epitome of food artificiality. Why try to meticulously recreate the taste and mouthfeel of chicken when the real thing is so readily available? To put it bluntly: If humans want to continue enjoying the real thing, we have no other choice. There have to be alternative, tasty protein options available for the 9 billion people who will soon populate Earth.

As for salt? Few people can deny that the world could use some help in the healthy eating arena. Even Solazyme, a renewable algae oil company, is getting involved in the space with healthy algae-based oils. There is a literal and figurative hunger for these products, and Bill Gates knows it.

Add New Comment

12 Comments

  • Benumea Maples Otter

    So.........VEGETABLES are NOT LIVING ENTITIES? ......We all are to become herbaceous, just like to remaind you, we human beings do have canines...guess why? .......sorry I forgot, you know more than nature!

  • Patrick Janka

    We do not have canines. Our teeth cannot rip through raw meat the way, say, a wolf, can. We have to cook it, unlike every other natural carnivore. We also do not have the digestive enzymes required to process meat properly, and our digestive tract is long, unlike a carnivores, which is why meat goes undigested and left to rot in the colon. Not to mention the way animals are treated in factory farms is absolutely deplorable. Ethical healthy meat replacements are most definitely a good thing.

  • Stacey Citraro-againstanimalab

    Beyond Meat is simply awesome! Tropical Smoothie makes it da bomb!!!! and not to mention the island green smoothie!!! Yummy yummy stuff!! 

  • Steve_dude

    Bill Gates has the worst ideas anyone has ever thought of. The scary thing is that he has enough money to ensure that they are put into practice.

  • michael

    Steve, these are all great ideas. I don't see the problem with reduced suffering in sentient beings. Less heart disease. Less disease in general. 

  • lost2gether

    Smeat ...Yuk!  Keep your GMO et al.  Saw a TED talk by Allan Savory that maintains that livestock can help reverse climate change ...and feed people.  What is more ethical than that?

  • Patrick Janka

    Right. The number one contributors to climate change are the ones that will reverse it. Be sure to suspend logic before saying that.

  • Vegdaze

    This vegetarian cannot wait for ethically manufactured foods! We owe it to the planet and to ourselves.

  • melvin

     Ethically manufactured foods have existed for centuries. They are called vegetables.