“In the past few years, there’s been a growing global awareness in the U.S. and over the world. People are starting to understand that we live in a finite world and resources matter,” says Udi Lazimy, senior sustainability and sourcing manager at JUST, a company based in San Francisco, Calif., that has been researching and working with plant-based foods and cultured meat.
“We wanted to look at how to make the food system better, and we think that plant-based solutions offer a path to solve a lot of the problems within our current food system,” he says.
JUST saw that the food system’s tools were limited, and there were a lot of underused foods that could provide tremendous benefit to them instead of the core ingredients that big food companies use: soy, corn, processed sugar and animal protein. After a lot of exploring, JUST created JUST Egg, a plant-based, protein-packed product that cooks up and tastes like real eggs.
“Animal protein isn’t necessary to create really good food,” Lazimy says. “We’re looking to use plant protein to replace things like eggs and dairy, because they aren’t necessary if plants can function the same way. We think it’ll make everything much more sustainable.”
To produce these products, both companies had to think outside of the box when it came to ingredients.
“As we keep thinking of ways to improve the Impossible Burger, nutrition is on the top of our mind,” Halla says. “We’re constantly looking to make it healthier, and that’s what we’re hoping the Impossible Burger version two accomplishes.”
Both companies truly believe that to feed the world’s population by 2050, farmers, seed companies and food companies need to work together to change our food system. For them, plant-based proteins mean the future of agriculture’s value chain.
“Change can be scary,” Halla says. “But there are huge opportunities in the space of plant-based proteins. If we can add more value back into the value chain, then we can have a much more diverse and sustainable world.”