By Agatha Wong
What do we mean when we talk about a “sustainable food future”? Do we refer to plant-based meat, made from soy, pea, or other bases? Do we refer to cultivated meat, which removes the need for animal farming? Or do we refer to 3D food printing, which seems almost a product of science fiction?
The truth is, current food production methods are wholly unsustainable. The process, be it animal farming or agriculture for consumption and feed, generates devastating environmental impacts and depletes natural resources. Through clearing forests, relying on fossil fuels, and tapping into precious groundwater, food production has contributed to the continued exacerbating of climate change and the deterioration of the planet.
While consumers and food producers are coming around to the harmful effects of animal farming on the environment, turning instead of vegan and plant-based options, there is still a long way to go to achieve actually food sustainability. Even with groundbreaking developments like cell cultivated and plant-based meat, the process with which these protein products are created cannot be considered wholly sustainable. In other words, these processes still rely on the cycle of food production for their raw materials, such as soy or peas. What we need, then, is a more radical form of production that seeks to remove both the animal and the agricultural.
With that, Solar Foods has created Solein, a “protein made out of thin air”. Touted as the purest and most sustainable form of protein, Solein is derived from a natural, non-modified, single-cell organism. It offers a range of nutritional benefits comparable to other forms of protein, and serves as a solution to any daily meal.
“If we were to look at the history of humankind, all the energy that we as humans received has been attributed to the mechanism of photosynthesis, the main mechanism with which we receive energy from the Sun on Earth, whether it is the plants that we eat, or the biomass that we acquire through food. And for the first time, we have bypassed this through using electricity, hydrogen gas, and non-photosynthetic organism. This is important because we do not need arable land to make this happen; we avoid the negative, environmental impacts of agriculture,” said Pasi Vainikka, CEO and founder of Solar Foods.
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