It’ll be the egg that will become obsolete (perhaps even illegal some day, like old-fashioned lightbulbs?) if Hampton Creek Foods (founded by Bill Gates) has anything to say about it:
In its food lab, biochemists grind up beans and peer through microscopes to study their molecular structure, looking for plants that can fulfill the culinary functions of eggs. So far, the company has analyzed some 1,500 types of plants from more than 60 countries.
The research has resulted in 11 “hits,” said Josh Tetrick, the company’s CEO.
“Our approach is to use plants that are much more sustainable — less greenhouse gas emissions, less water, no animal involved and a whole lot more affordable — to create a better food system,” said the former linebacker on West Virginia University’s football team.
The company’s first product — the mayonnaise — is sold for roughly the same price as the traditional variety. It soon hopes to start selling cookie dough and a batter that scrambles like eggs when fried in a pan.
“The egg is a miracle, so one of the hardest parts of replacing it is all the functions that it can do,” said Chris Jones, the company’s culinary director of innovations and a former contestant on Bravo TV’s Top Chef.
I dunno. It all seems fishy to me.
I can’t quite imagine a food that could function like an egg but isn’t an egg, which is indeed a “miracle” for its remarkable capacities, not just as an egg (as in scrambled, fried, boiled) but especially in baking.
And as for “sustainable,” what about all the energy used to turn the vegetable sources into egglike artifacts? What are the greenhouse gases involved in a chicken laying an egg?
It turns out that chicken feet have a tiny little carbon footprint:
Lamb, beef and cheese have the highest emissions, in part because they are derived from animals that release a consistent amount of methane gas, which is a potent green house gas pollutant. Chickens aren’t gassy creatures. They produce no methane and cause far fewer emissions during production. Also, pound for pound, they require less feed than hogs, beef or dairy cattle. Chicken is a good alternative to red meat, which is linked to a variety of health issues like obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even mortality. Of course, protein alternatives like rice and eggs are considerably better for the environment; beans and lentils are better still.
So even if you buy the AGW theory, neither chicken nor eggs seem to be a particularly good target. But hey, that doesn’t stop them from trying, does it?