00:00 – 00:33 – Intro

00:34 – 01:43 – How can you have your burger and eat it too?

01:44 – 05:20- Precision fermentation and cultivated technology: creating sustainable alternatives to meat production

05:21 – 05:33 – Outro

Show Notes

Green Queen Media – Founded by serial social entrepreneur and eco activist Sonalie Figueiras in 2011, Green Queen is an award-winning impact media platform advocating for social & environmental change based in Hong Kong with a global outlook and an international audience.



Maryam Pasha  0:01  

Welcome to climate quickies, bite sized nuggets of planet goodness from our tenants London experts in under five minutes.

Ben Hurst  0:07  

In this week’s climate quickie we hear from founder and editor in chief of green Queen media, Sonalie Figueiras. Sonalie shares how you can have your burger and eat to all thanks to alternative proteins, helping us take a lower emissions approach to food reduction. Let’s head over to Sonalie to tell us more. Stay curious.

How can you have your burger and eat it too?

Sonalie  0:29  

So how can people have their burger and eat it too? Well, in the last three or four years, this more niche alternative protein industry has absolutely exploded. And we now have all these different kinds of alternative proteins that we can choose. And they are created to replace all the animal products that we love, from meat to sea food to dairy to poultry. So the main types of alternative proteins are plant based meats and other animal products. So you’ll be very familiar with these because at this point, they’re in many supermarkets all over the world. Obviously, some of the poster brands for this category would be something like an Impossible Foods, right, which has created a ground beef replacement made from plants. Beyond Meat is also a very famous company in the sector. But you know, we also have plant based milk that we know very well. And of course, if you think about oatly and their oat milk, this is a very popular example of a plant based dairy.

Precision fermentation and cultivated technology: creating sustainable alternatives to meat production

Then we have another section of products that come from what we call precision fermentation, and precision fermentation, the quickest way to explain it is that you’re basically programming a yeast to create a protein. And you can do this in a lab. And it’s super safe. It allows you to create the proteins, for example that we have in dairy, like whey protein, or casein, which is very important to make cheese. And precision fermentation is not a new technology at all, we actually use it all the time. For example, if you know anyone that’s a type one diabetic, their insulin that they inject themselves with, is gotten through precision fermentation. So this is absolutely not a new technology, it’s just been newly applied to create alternatives for dairy and other food protein products.

A third pillar of alternative protein and, and probably the one that is maybe the least understood, and also not really available in the market yet is cultivated technology. So cultivated meat or cultivated seafood, there’s even cultivated dairy. And that’s different, because what you’re doing there is you’re taking the cell of let’s say, a cow, or a chicken, or a pig, and you’re using technology to basically grow that cell in what’s called a bio reactor using, you know, growth mediums. And that allows you to then grow a piece of chicken breast. So the advantage there is one, you can localise a lot of this meat production and seafood production all over the world. So different cities could have their own bio reactors to produce their own protein. So cultivated meat and seafood is really quite revolutionary. It is, as of today only commercially available for sale in one country, and that is Singapore, so most people will not have tried it. But it is expected that in 20 years, we will have cultivated meats in the supermarket, there’s about 70 to 100 or so companies around the world working on that technology. Out of the three types of alternative protein, it’s the most expensive, and it’s the one that requires the most research and development. But it is absolutely imperative. There is no choice here, we have to find alternative ways to grow and produce our protein.

Something that a lot of people ignore in this debate about alternative proteins and why we need them is if we had everyone in the world eating the same amount of protein from animals, as a US citizen does, we would need between five and seven planets to grow that animal protein. And we simply do not have between five and seven planets. So we absolutely need alternatives. Anyway, even if we were to keep producing animal protein at the same quantities, we just don’t Have enough land, water, and other resources to produce five times more animal protein we absolutely need to find new, healthier, safer, more sustainable ways to produce our animal protein. And the alternative protein industry is the answer to that problem.


Ben Hurst  5:20  

Thanks for listening to this quickie.

Maryam Pasha  5:23  

This episode was created by our superstar podcast team at TEDx London, and supported by our headline partner, the global bank Citi. Until next time,

Ben Hurst  5:32  

stay curious.

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