May 3, 2021

EXTRA CHEESE: Epicurious, Beyond Meat Chicken & Cultured Human Milk


This news round-up covers all things meat. Becca & Sarah discuss Epicurious’ new pro-planet strategy, Beyond Meat’s plant-based chicken, Impossible Foods’ “meaty” ad campaign, BioMilk’s cultured human milk, and more! We then hear from a listener who shares a mysterious sweet potato aversion story.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Do you have an interesting food-related story? Maybe a quirky food habit or unique sensitivity? Email us at dieteticsafterdark@gmail.com. 

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This podcast was produced by Geoff Devine at Earworm Radio. Follow Geoff @ewradio on Instagram or visit earwormradio.com.


Transcript

Hi everyone! I’m Becca!

& I’m Sarah. Welcome to Extra Cheese.

A lot has been happening in the meat and alternative meat industries over the past week. I know we already have a few episodes where we discuss either cultured or 3D printed meat, but I think it’s important to keep up-to-date with what’s going on here. And A LOT is going on.

Some of my sources include a Global News article by Allison Bench and a Bloomberg article by Deena Shanker. The other sources can all be found on our website @ dieteticsafterdark.com.

So first off, Allison Bench reports that the digital food and recipe brand called Epicurious will no longer post recipes that contain beef in them. They are owned by Conde Nast, who also owns The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, and Bon Appetit, who has had some serious scandal in the last few years, which we could cover in a whole other episode. The reason behind this decision is that they want to promote more sustainable ways of cooking and eating. The brand was quoted saying:

“Our shift is solely about sustainability, about not giving airtime to one of the world’s worst climate offenders. “We think of this decision as not anti-beef but rather pro-planet.”

A 2013 report by the UN stated that 15% of greenhouse gas emissions may be from livestock, and that 61% of those can be linked to beef production. So it’s not great. Epicurious won’t be deleting old recipes, but they’ll no longer promote those older beef-containing recipes, and they won’t be creating new ones (Bench, 2021).

Next up, Shanker reports that Beyond Meat will have plant-based imitation chicken products available this upcoming summer. They have actually been trialing their products at KFC locations as fried chicken. They will also be launching a reformulation of their classic burger this week, with improved nutritional value and flavour (Shanker, 2021).

Then Eat Just, which is the California cultured food company that received approval to start producing and selling cultured meat in Singapore; they just revealed that they will launch their plant-based egg product in Europe by the end of this year (Smith, 2021). It’s called JUST Egg and it’s made from mung beans. And I was surprised to find out that this product is already available in Canada. Have you seen/tried it? I am going to see if I can find it on my next grocery shop.

In other news, Impossible Foods just launched a controversial campaign called “We Are Meat”. I watched two of the commercials and both of them reference the products as meat multiple times in both, then at the end they show you the juicy meaty images you’ve been watching aren’t meat at all (Fassler, 2021). So they are clearly targeting meat-lovers, and not really pre-existing plant-based alternative eaters. But can they call themselves meat? Most food products have legal definitions, but we are in this new era of plant-based alternatives where labeling regulations and legislation are still catching up. I know we briefly discussed this in one of our previous extra cheese episodes, but this seems to be happening a lot! With Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat, and even the JUST Egg product I just mentioned - they are calling themselves egg. It will be interesting to see what happens here.

And now for what I think is the coolest update, the Israeli company called BioMilk just went public. They produce real cow and HUMAN milk from cultured cells. They are now the first publicly traded cell-based milk company in the world. They are planning to release samples in the next two years or so, which would be huge for both vegetarian milk drinkers and possibly infants. Depending on the nutrient profile and ease of access, this could seriously disrupt the infant formula industry (Ho, 2021).

Ethical cannibalism 

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We previously asked listeners to share their interesting or unusual food stories with us! And we have decided to make this a new segment in our Extra Cheese episodes. Two weeks ago you’ll remember we discussed Pine Mouth. Well, today we have our very own Kylie Gonsalves, or @dishing.it on Instagram. And she reached out her very own weird food story, so let’s hear it…

[INSERT RECORDING]

Kylie - thanks so much for sharing your experience! That IS so strange.

Now I did some digging into this, and there are a few potential explanations as to what may have happened here. There are likely other explanations that I didn’t find in my research, but this is just what I was able to come up with.

  1. First, it is possible that a sweet potato with some type of pathogen led to food poisoning at some point, and that a brief aversion was developed to it. Aversions are mainly psychological, in that they are an association of disgust or dislike with a certain thing due to its characteristics. But they can cause a physical reaction.
    Aversions can change over time if you begin to associate something positive with the food. Aversion Therapy is even used as a classical conditioning method in psychology that pairs two stimuli together to create a desired response - usually negative (McLeod, 2021). But aversions can change over time if positive experiences are associated with the food, item, or event.
    Sarah: Do you have any food aversions?

I have a two that I could think of - one to tequila and the other is to cornstarch. These ones are so strong that I will literally start to gag if I think about tequila for too long, and I get shivers when I think about the texture of cornstarch.

  1. A second potential explanation is that the feelings of bloating, constipation, and associated nausea may also be a result of increased fibre in the diet. We all need fibre, but adding too much into the diet without easing it in or consuming enough water with it has the potential to make you feel a bit ill.
  2. Another potential reason for feeling nauseous after consuming sweet potato is a mannitol sensitivity. Mannitol is a naturally-occuring sugar or polyol that can be found in sweet potato, asparagus, pineapple, and olives. It is also extracted and added to some products as a sweetener. Some people have difficulty digesting it as it tends to linger in the digestive tract for a longer period of time than most other sugars (Yale New Haven Health, n.d.). This means it may start to break down or ferment in the intestines, leading to bloating, upset stomach, and diarrhea. I can’t explain why the nausea or sickness may have stopped, but it is possible that the sensitivity dissipated or that a higher tolerance was developed.

That’s it! If you have a weird or interesting food story that you’d love to share on the podcast, you can email us at dieteticsafterdark@gmail.com. We’d love to hear from you!