I live in Brooklyn, which means I come across vegan food trucks pretty often. They almost always have something called “faux gras” on the menu: a vegan version of foie gras. Why any vegan wants to pretend she’s eating fatty duck liver is beyond me, but it seems to be a staple of their diet.
It turns out this trend is pretty widespread, and not just among dreadlocked hipsters in Bushwick. Eating sustainably is top of many people’s minds these days, and tech companies are jumping on the opportunity.
Take Impossible Foods, the Silicon Valley sweetheart that has raised more than $150 million to make its veggie burgers that “bleed.” Biochemist and founder Patrick Brown spent around five years and $80 million to develop textured wheat protein, coconut oil, and other plant-based ingredients into the meat patty, and the result is a patty that uses 74 percent water and 95 percent less land, and emits 87 percent less greenhouse gas than its beefy counterpart. In July 2016 celebrity chef and New York City sweetheart David Chang started offering the veggie burger on his menu at Momofuku Nishi, on a first come, first serve basis, of course.
NotCo’s plant-based Mayo, gif via GIPHY
Now there’s news that another company is coming onto the scene. Chilean startup NotCo uses artificial intelligence to help it recreate the flavors and textures of animal-based foods with plants. Its Not Mayo (made with potatoes, peas, basil, and canola oil rather than vegetable oil and eggs) is already available at a major supermarket in Chile, and the company is working on plant-based cheese, yogurt, milk, and (you guessed it) pate. NotCo has also spoken with Coca-Cola, Hershey, and Mars about recreating both soda and milk chocolate with solely plant-based ingredients.
Just think: In a few years you may be able to grab a “bleeding veggie” burger to go, then eat it at home with a plant-based “chocolate milkshake,” illuminated by a lamp made out of mushrooms.