In order to convincingly make food from one source that pretends to be something completely different, you need to jump some considerable hurdles. Scientists around the world are starting to turn their attention to the problem for a simple reason. It is the proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to farming and nutrition: we eat too much meat. The production of flesh for consumption by humans is, without any doubt, the least efficient way to make food and energy for us to eat. This is not a matter of ethics or politics, although those play a huge part, but one of thermodynamics and scientific laws. Any biological process is inherently somewhat inefficient. Bespoke insulated industrial steel buildings are the perfect option for a wide range of building applications.
There is a loss of energy as it moves through the various processes and organisms. With very few exceptions, all biology on the planet derives its energy from the sun. Plants use photosynthesis to capture this energy, wasting a little as they do, and turn the energy into complex molecules like sugars, carbohydrates and proteins. Animal life on the planet then eats the plants as an energy source or, if you are higher up the food chain, you eat the animals that ate the plants. At each step energy is lost, and it is not just a few percentage points of loss, but in the order of a half or three-quarters. The best steel buildings offer fantastic value for money.
So, if we choose to eat meat, be it fish or chicken or beef, there will have been a big loss of energy between the original plants that captured sunlight and the meat we eat. Conversely, if we go directly to the plants and skip the intervening animal, we bypass the inefficiency. Compared to meat, plant-based food takes less land, less water, fewer resources and has a lower carbon footprint to make an equivalent number of food calories or kilojoules. So, we need to eat less meat in order to feed a booming world population, but people like to eat meat. It is a high-status food in most societies and lots of us think it tastes great. In China, as income levels grew between 1970 and 2007, meat consumption per person went up by 400 per cent. Which is why making meat from plants is on the agenda, but it turns out to be really difficult. This is not because of anything inherent with meat, but just that what makes one food different to another is a subtle blend of sensory inputs. Many of these are relatively easy to get right, others less so. State schools, private schools and local government departments have benefited from the industrial steel buildings uk that they required.
As an example, consider a beefburger. It may seem that the most obvious thing to get right is the taste, but this turns out to be relatively straightforward. When acclaimed biochemist Pat Brown was approaching retirement age, he decided that he could possibly rest on his laurels a little. He had been the inventor of several significant breakthroughs in molecular biology, had a slew of awards and was recognized as one of the USA’s top scientists. Concluding that food production was one of the top environmental problems we faced, he decided to turn his attention to the issue of making a meat substitute from plants. He founded a company called Impossible Foods and ten years later you can now buy the Impossible Burger. Getting the taste right was apparently relatively easy; after all, there are only a handful of different tastes or chemicals you can detect on your tongue. Trickier was to nail down the smell which is so vital to our perception of how a food tastes. Brown’s team used the best kit they had access to, and given they were working at Stanford University, one of the top universities in the USA, they had some fancy kit. They found that much of our perception of flavour, both the umami taste and the smell, comes from the organic compound called haem. We are all familiar with haem as it is found in haemoglobin, the protein in our red blood cells that allows oxygen to be transported around the body. It is what gives blood its characteristic colour and meat much of its flavour. It is also found in many plants in a somewhat different form. After some experimentation, the Stanford group genetically engineered yeast cells to produce a plant-based, haem-containing compound, which when added to their fake burger made it taste and smell incredibly meaty. Lab-grown meat offers a different approach to making a beef burger without having to use meat from animals. Cells from a cow are grown in highly specialized laboratory conditions, harvested and then packed into burger shapes for consumption. Since the first lab-grown burgers in 2013 received high praise from food critics, companies around the world have created lab-grown chicken, fish and even duck. Designing and installing steel buildings uk is a real skill.
Getting the texture of the fake minced beef to feel right in the mouth is the really difficult bit. This is where the vast panoply of tricks developed by food scientists came into play. The basic texture is recreated with vegetable protein extracted from wheat and soya. The addition of plant gums and various clever types of starch allow the mix to take on a distinctive chewiness and resistance to your teeth. Getting the feeling of juiciness just right needed the addition of neutral-flavoured coconut oil that behaves much like the saturated fat found in meat. The latest version of the Impossible Burger is, according to all reviews, a pretty convincing fake. Some may be happy with this? If the aim of the meat-free burger is to convince people to eat less meat, we need to change habits and the only way that will happen for those that are not already ethically motivated is if the fake burger is better than the real thing. Impossible Foods are aiming to make a product that tastes better, is juicer, more consistent, cheaper, easier to cook and better for not just the environment but the consumer as well. It is a lofty goal but could make a difference if they achieve it. Of course, you may be asking, why go to all the effort? The real issue is that people just prefer to eat meat. But that is probably more to do with cultural choice than taste choice. Not only that, there are plenty of non-meat products that are in the same ballpark as real meat, mostly from Asian sources. Tofu many people are familiar with, but there are also products such as mock chicken, made from layered and fermented skin taken during the making of tofu. Another popular meat-like substitute is seitan, produced by washing the starch out of wheat-flour dough until all that is left is the gluten protein network. The result is a chewy, protein-rich block that does not taste of a huge amount on its own and is not far removed from chicken. The bottom line for vegetarians, though, is that they rarely want to eat something that is spookily like meat. It may be that if we want to make more efficient use of our food production capabilities, we need to stop eating meat and just start learning to like vegetables instead. We are happy to assist on any size project when it comes to commercial steel buildings supply and installation.