Larissa Zimberoff Author of Technically Food: Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat is on The Plantbased Business Hour with Elysabeth Alfano. We discuss how the Plant-based Foods and Alternative Proteins Industry has been under attack on health claims, repurchasing numbers and its strength and viability for the growth.
Are the critics right or is this a mask of negative campaigning for meat industry interests? It gets dicey.
Specifically, they discuss
- What major take-aways did she discover in researching the book?
- Are consumers concerned with technology in their food or are they OK with it?
- What are her thoughts on the great debate: are plant-based foods healthy?
- What will we need for mainstream adoption and will the negative press ever let up?
Here is a short clip and transcript from their conversation. Podcast here.
Elysabeth: I want to welcome my guest, Larissa Zimberoff. She’s the author of Technically Food: Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat, but you probably also know her as a renowned and respected journalist.
Larissa, what do you think it will take for plant-based options to continue to grow?
Larissa Zimberoff: You know, Impossible had the right idea, right? They first went with chefs, and they made it sort of foody and hard to get. And then eventually they moved to fine dining and restaurants and eventually it was to bars and everywhere across the country and now it’s at the supermarket and direct to consumers. Chefs are certainly some of the people to help make it more delicious and to make it more palatable and to make it more interesting and fun.
Pasta isn’t delicious until you’ve cooked it and added sauce and so we can’t just expect these foods to pop out of their cardboard box, be magically cooked and on my plate and have me walk away and think “that was amazing.” I have been sent so many products in my life and I’m still cooking it wrong. I’ve gotten mycelium chicken from Meati and mycelium steak from Meati or mycelium bacon and I’m not cooking it right. I’ve tried Hooray bacon and I’m still struggling to get it right and Prime Roots which makes it out of Koji and I’m still struggling to make it right.
So, I think that we need more of these foods out in the real world. It is great that Impossible and Beyond are still working with the fast-food people. I am guilty of pointing to McDonald’s for doing a very bad job of launching McPlant, but what vacuum were they creating it in? Did anybody taste it? It’s terrible and I just don’t get it. Beyond makes a good burger and for McDonald’s to launch the McPlant and it’s terrible is like people not talking. So, we need more chefs involved, we need more sampling and more collaboration.
We need these foods to be out in the wild at concerts and festivals and get people to try it. Give it away for free. The government could give subsidies to all these companies, and we could give it away free for people to try it. You know, I’m okay with that.
Elysabeth Alfano is the CEO of VegTech™ Invest, the advisor to the VegTech™ Plant-based Innovation & Climate ETF, EATV. She is also the founder of Plant Powered Consulting and the Host of the Plantbased Business Hour.