Can these mock meat entrepreneurs fool you with a plant-based burger?


PBS News Hour

Nov 9, 2017


As attitudes toward meat-eating shift and climate-conscious consumers experiment with alternatives, investors are throwing their money at mock meat startups that are replicating the smell and texture of a meaty burger. Economics correspondent Paul Solman explores the emerging technology that might help Americans wean off of their meat habit.


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††† Judy Woodruff:


††† But, first, letís turn to a story about the business of food.


††† Economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a look at two start-ups aiming to help the planet and improve health by serving up plant-based burgers that they think will wean Americans off meat.


††† Itís part of his weekly series, Making Sense.


††† Paul Solman:


††† It looks like a burger, cooks like a burger, bleeds like a burger.


††† Narrator:


††† Introducing the impossible burger. Itís meat made from entirely from plants invented by a pretty cool scientist Pat Brown.


††† Hi, Pat.


††† Paul Solman:


††† Pat is CEO of a hot start-up called Impossible Foods.


††† This is your impossible place?


††† Patrick Brown:


††† This is where the magic happens.


††† Paul Solman:


††† In a lab-to-table operation thatís raised nearly 300 million venture capital dollars in Silicon Valley to make mock meat.


††† Whatís your background? Where were you from before this? I mean, what were you doing before this?


††† Patrick Brown:


††† I was a professor at Stanford for 25 years, the medical school.


††† Paul Solman:


††† And just why has a famous tenured ballyhooed biochemist flipped his super safe career to flip burgers?


††† Patrick Brown:


††† I realized that animals are just a prehistoric technology, that using animals to produce food is the most destructive technology in use on Earth today. The solution to the problem is develop a better technology.


††† Paul Solman:


††† So, his lab rejiggers plant molecules to replicate the fleshy flavor and texture, even the aroma.


††† So, this is ó so you get the smell of the burger, right?


††† Celeste Holz-schietinger:


††† Correct. This is an olfactometer


††† Paul Solman:


††† Impossibleís flavor scientist, Celeste Holz-Schietinger.


††† But why is smell so important?


††† Celeste Holz-schietinger: