Categories
Alcohol Sustainability

Johnnie Walker Launching Sleek And Sustainable Paper Bottle Next Year

Photo: Diageo

Next year, expect more and more spirits to go completely plastic-free as many companies are transitioning to sustainable paper spirit bottles.

Diageo, the makers of Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Guinness have just announced that they’ve created the first-ever 100% plastic-free paper bottle to house spirits.

The new bottle is made from sustainably sourced wood and will make its inaugural debut with Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky in the early half of 2021.

This launch coincides with Diageo’s new partnership with venture management company Pilot Lite to launch a new sustainable packaging technology company called Pulpex Limited.

These new Pulpex bottles boast ‘first-of-its-kind’ scalability that’s designed to be 100% plastic-free and fully recyclable. Pulpex Limited will also kick off a partnership consortium of fast-moving consumer goods companies that include Unilever and PepsiCo. These companies are also expected to launch their own branded paper bottles based off Pulpex’s designs and tech.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Food Trends Health Sustainability

Salmon Skin Chips Are Here, Would You Try Them?

goodfish

Growing up, pork rinds were a popular snack. My mother, vehemently anti-pork, would never buy them, but on a rare occasion, I’d steal a munch from a relative or friend. Even now, I recall the salty crunch, and how quick they mysteriously evaporate in your mouth. Those are good memories, yet with age, I became more conscious of my diet and as a result, haven’t had a chicharron in years. With that said, pork skins are still wildly popular. 

In today’s “alternative world,” social media has spurred entrepreneurship which in turn has fueled innovation across industries. As health consciousness grows and alternative “everything’s” are popping up weekly, a pork rind alternative was inevitable. 

goodfish

New upstart snack brand Goodfish is that answer. It’s the aquatic alternative to pork rinds and is made with wild caught Alaskan Salmon from Bristol Bay. These fish skins are packed with clean protein, good omega fats and marine collagen. Goodfish aims to give you all the nutrients, with none of the sluggishness carbs cause. They come in four flavors; Sea Salt, Spicy BBQ, Chili Lime and the oddly curious Tart Cranberry. 

I don’t know about ya’ll, but these sound pretty fire to me. They have a lighter crisp but still deliver on the salty savoriness. I can’t call the tart cranberry though. Would you try these as a healthier alternative to pork rinds? Possibly a replacement?  

If you’re interested in doing a deep dive, you can find Goodfish at your local retailer here.

Categories
Fast Food

McDonald’s Is Turning Their Coffee Waste Into Car Parts For Ford

Fast food sustainability is the next frontier to be tackled and McDonald’s seems to be ending the year on an ambitious note with their latest venture. The Golden Arches announced that they’re turning coffee bean waste into car parts.

In collaboration with Ford Motor Company, the burger chain is taking coffee chaff — the dried skin on the bean that falls off during the roast — and converting it into a durable product that’s used to strengthen vehicle parts.

Under low oxygen and high temperatures, the coffee chaff is heated and mixed with plastic and a few other additives and made into pellets that can be molded into different kinds of shapes. Ford Motor says that coffee chaff actually much better heat properties than the materials that they currently use.

McDonald’s goes through millions of pounds of coffee chaff every year and typically it’s used for things like garden mulch or charcoal. Through this collaboration, a new alternative use for the wasted material presents itself for the fast food chain. This effort will divert waste from landfills, use significantly less petroleum, and lower CO2 emissions through the production of bioplastic car parts. McDonald’s expects to source 100 percent of its consumer packaging from recycled or renewable sources by 2025.

Wonder how many car parts I’ve contributed to with all the McDonald’s coffee I’ve had over the years?

Categories
Drinks Sustainability

Straw Stars: A Straw Alternative Power Ranking

Last week, Foodbeast’s lead TikTokker/editor-in-chief Elie Ayrouth posted a video of an enormous, 1-pound bag of boba milk tea. Why exactly this product exists, I do not know. But, what I do know is that one of my favorite reactions to the video was a comment that asked him not about the boba, but about the environmental ethics behind his consumption of said gluttonous bag of tea. More specifically, the plastic straw he used was in question. 

Now, I’m all for not using plastic. You’re talking to the person who used to force his coffeeshop coworkers to use glass cups with no straws while at work. But, if you see a bag of boba big enough to give someone a concussion should a fight come its way, and the first thing you think of is how wasteful the straw usage is, you might be on a path towards being overkill. 

Anyways, as the Foodbeast editorial team sat in our meeting room and discussed this comment during our weekly meeting, we started to wonder: what ARE the best straw alternatives? Besides coming to a communal agreement that paper straws would be better off staying a tree, the results were varied. But, after much deliberation, here we have it, a power ranking of straws:

10. Biodegradable Plastic Straws

Photo by: Christopher on Pexels

Ideally, biodegradable plastic straws would be the answer to all our problems, and would make this list irrelevant. But, like anything that sounds too good to be true, it is. These types of straws are only biodegradable in certain, commercial compost facilities, meaning you have to dispose of them in a way that definitely doesn’t include tossing it away with your iced coffee before you enter work, a fate similar to that of most of our straws.

9. Pasta Straws

Photo by: Pixabay on Plexels

Pasta straws are indeed highly functional, but they’re still single use and are ruined after an hour’s time. Pass. 

8. Silicone Straws

Photo by: frank mckenna on Unsplash

Silicone straws are flexible, easy to clean, and heavily reusable. The only problem is most lend a distinct taste to any drink they’re served in. No flavor compliments everything you drink quite like an undertone of rubber, right?

7. Paper Straws

Photo by: Vlad Chețan on Pexels

Personally, I have no qualms with most paper straws. In my experience, most paper straws take over an hour until they start becoming flimsy. But, alas, it seems as if the general consensus is that paper straws become soaked and useless after a couple minutes in liquid and have a weird “lip feel.”

6. Hay Straws

Photo by: Pixabay on Pexels

Surprisingly, straws are named after straw. Like, the stuff in hay bales. More surprisingly, there are companies selling straw straws. From my research, it seems as if they work well, too. The issue is that it’s difficult to produce a consistent product, as each stalk of straw grows to a different diameter. Until these are able to be mass produced, they’ll stay in the middle of the pack (hay bale, if you will).

5. No Straw

Photo by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

This would be higher up if it wasn’t for the active lifestyle that most people live. For sitting down at a meal, or kicking it at a coffee shop, no straw is the best straw. But, the moment you have to take a drink to go, choosing to go no straw turns your commute into a perilous mission.

4. Glass Straws

Photo by: Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

By all means, glass straws work great. Easy to clean, cheap, and essentially acting as an additional part to the glass you’re drinking out of, glass straws are amongst the best straw alternative options. But, while many glass straws are indeed tough, the off chance that a glass straw shatters in your bag, backpack, or drink brings it’s ranking down.

3. Sippy Lid

Photo by: Daria Shevtsova on Pexels

It’s like no straw, but with some protection from the elements. The only issue is that some people don’t feel right drinking things without a straw, apparently. For me, this is not an issue. But, hey, if you absolutely need a straw, who am I to judge?

2. Bamboo Straws

Photo by: Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

Sustainable, economical, smooth on the lips, and resistant to soaking, bamboo straws are about as good as it gets. The only downside is that they do eventually wear out, which brings them down to second on our list. But, on the bright side, it’s a stick. You can properly dispose of these straws by simply tossing it in the dirt. 

1. Stainless Steel Straw

Photo by: Louise Burton on Unsplash

There’s really no downside to stainless steel straws. They’re hard to break, easily cleaned, not too expensive, and some come with silicone tips to give an improved lip feel. If you’re going to use a straw alternative (you should), this is the Foodbeast approved answer.

Categories
Animals Culture Food Trends Food Waste Health News Sustainability What's New

The Wagyu Beef of Lamb Is Here, and It’s Trying to Save the Environment

During the Edo Period in feudal Japan, “mottainai” was a way of life. The word, which roughly translates to “what a waste,” represents the idea that everything has a purpose, even things that didn’t immediately seem useful. For example, when the townspeople’s kimonos had turned drab, they were repurposed as futon pads, diapers, and dusters. Once these had become unusable, they were burned and the ashes were sold for various uses. This general focus on maximizing resources permeates throughout Japan to this day, and the phrase mottainai became a popular motif for a Kenyan environmental movement that reached the UN eventually.

The concept revolves around the commonly used three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. But what distinctifies it is an additional, fourth R — respect. Such respect is applied for the Earth, for animals, and for the role they play in our life.

“It’s one of the things I’ve always respected about Japanese culture, that they aren’t so wasteful and that they do value the resources that they have around them,” says Suzannah Moss-Wright, the owner of the Australia-based company Mottainai Lamb, which aims to change the course of the meat industry.

The company, which has been around for four years now, is producing sustainable meat. The first six months of their lambs’ lives are spent on a pasture, grazing on grass. While this is not particularly revolutionary, it’s the finishing weeks where the company makes their mark. Instead of using grain feed to plump up the lamb, as most farms do, Moss-Wright’s company finishes their lamb with a cocktail of unused vegetables. Their finishing feed consists of 80% recycled material from nearby farms: carrots too ugly to sell, carrot tops, carrot pomace, and olive oil sediment. 

And, while this does bring something new to the table, Moss-Wright points out, “One of the big challenges that we face, when we want to innovate, and we want to really disrupt this supply chain and the way food is conventionally produced in this sort of mass commercialized world, is you’ve got to have something that nobody else has.” 

After three years of research and development, they had it. The lamb they produced marbled.

Mottainai Lamb ribs (Photo: Reach Guinto, Foodbeast)

Marbling, a term used to describe the intramuscular fat in a cut of meat’s tendency to look like the white streaks running that run through marble rock, is a sign of quality. The more marbling, the better the meat. Japanese A5 Wagyu beef is famed for its marbling and is considered some of the best in the world. In order to get the A5 distinction, the beef must have an intramuscular fat percentage of above 43.8%. Most regular lamb has an intramuscular fat percentage of a mere 3-5%

Mottainai Lambs have 37%, according to Moss-Wright.

They found that the carrot and olive pomaces, once in the digestive rumen of the sheep, are considered by their body to be partially digested, so it moves through in a third of the time as it normally would. Because of this, the unsaturated fatty acids that cause marbling don’t break down and were absorbed as such.

The result is a prime cut of lamb. Fresh and light, the meat is significantly less gamey than most other lamb. The pungent odor that lamb tends to carry is nowhere to be found. It melts in the mouth, just like A5 Wagyu, very much warranting the $36/lb price point.

This dwarfs the regular pricing of lamb. 

“Great lamb is $12/lb,” chef Jason Quinn of Playground, in Santa Ana, CA, told me for reference. Playground is the only restaurant in California serving Mottainai Lamb.

Mottainai Lamb served as a tartare at Playground in Santa Ana, CA (Photo: Hunter Anderson, Foodbeast)

Not only is the quality to A5 standards, but so is the going rate. This presents a challenge that any growing sustainable meat operation will eventually face. How do you convince people to purchase a premium product that’s made sustainably, when they can get a cut from the feedlot for significantly cheaper?

The problem reflects a question that’s slowly becoming more apparent, one that shifts from lamb and turns toward meat in general: Can we, collectively, change our meat reliant diets? The problem isn’t eating meat, necessarily, it’s how often we eat it.

This small-scale example does not address the climate impacts of meat production. There are certainly better and worse waste to produce meat, but none of them are scalable enough to sustainably meet current demand.” says Jennifer Molidor, sustainability writer and Senior Food Campaigner for the Center of Biological Diversity, an Arizona-based environmentally focused nonprofit.

Places like McDonald’s wouldn’t be able to meet their demand, which is close to 75 hamburgers per second, if they were to try to do it sustainably. Massive, wasteful farms are the only way we can meet this demand. 

Factory farms are immense patches of land where animals are kept in captivity and fed fattening grain and hormones until they’re plump. They’re also where, uncoincidentally, 99% of American’s meat comes from, according to a study done by the Sentience Institute. 

The results of these farms are damning. It’s estimated that livestock production accounts for around 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, those producing animals that use a rumen to digest food, mainly cows and sheep, are even worse for the environment as these animals naturally excrete methane, one of the worst greenhouse gasses for our environment. While this may not be concerning on an animal by animal level, with the amount of these animals being produced, it certainly adds up. It’s estimated that, in western countries, each person needs to cut their intake of nearly every animal product by over 50% in order to prevent any further damage from occurring.

But most people don’t envision the ramifications of their shopping choices when they walk into the store and see pounds of ground meat on the shelf. They only see the finished product. A disconnect has formed. It’s slowly withering away with the introduction of plant-based beef, the rise of vegetarianism/veganism, and the increase in grazing farms, but it’s still very much there–  and Moss-Wright intends to change that.

“[The supply chain]’s not respecting animals, it’s not respecting farmers, it’s not respecting the environment, and we’ve got to turn that around,” she said. 

Seeing this, Moss-Wright decided that the company needed a fifth R, in addition to the aforementioned four R’s of mottainai, to properly describe their mission. Reduce, reuse, recycle, respect, and reconnect. 

To institute this, Mottainai Lamb takes a hands-on approach to their distribution and growth by personally visiting chefs that buy their product with their distributor, Trex. This pushes a platform of transparency between the consumer, the distributor, and the grower, with the intent to shift the culture towards this. 

Unopened racks of Mottainai Lamb ribs along with their authentication (Photo: Reach Guinto, Foodbeast)

“I believe that chefs are ready for that, they’re really looking for that connection now and consumers are wanting that connection,” stated Moss-Wright.

And she’s right, chefs like Jason Quinn are ready for the change, and they’re actively practicing it.

“I preach a lot that, in this restaurant, if you work here, you can’t just be a person that thinks that steak is special and peas are not. Every single ingredient that hits the plate has the ability to be special, to change someone’s mind, to be the highlight of the night. And if you’re ignoring vegetables because they’re on the side for meat dishes, then you’re just wasting a lot of time at this moment,” he declared. 

But, those working in restaurants such as Quinn’s aren’t the people that need convincing. That would be the general population. Information regarding the concerning nature of the meat industry is abundant. It’s still going to be hard to convince an entire population to kick a meat-reliant diet after generations of eating that way. As with most addictions, there’s a dissonance. 

People believe what they see, though. The hope is that if chefs, like Quinn, start serving less meat and more vegetables as their main courses, and pushing transparency in the sourcing of their ingredients, then people would grow used to this and come to expect it everywhere.

Quinn brings up revolutionary Australian restaurant Saint Peter, where Chef John Niland is able to use 90% of each fish that’s consumed. Quinn says Americans wouldn’t be ready for this, and points towards Australia’s older restaurants that were serving out-of-the-box dishes years ago, giving the same culture a curiosity it needs to make Niland’s creations, like a crispy barbot stomach sandwich, a hit.

By applying that logic, and the fifth R, to their mission, Mottainai Lambs hopes to help inspire the needed cultural shift. They’re aware that they can’t do it all at once. It’s a process to tear down such a large system, and inspire others to do the same.

“You know, what we’ve done, in terms of risking everything, investing in R&D, and taking on a food supply chain and really trying to disrupt it and innovate it, it’s not easy to do. But, if I break the wind, then other people can ride my wake,” Moss-Wright points out. “It takes a lot of distance — what was it, 17 nautical miles to turn a ship around? —  so it’s not going to happen overnight. But we’ve got to stop turning this ship because we don’t have a second chance with this.”

Mottainai Lamb’s blueprint is by no means an end-all-be-all solution for sustainable meat production. It’s a needed step in the right direction in an industry that so badly needs to take that step. And, while yes, the meat is utterly prime, it’s the premise of others in the same area of business taking note, and following suit in addressing better sustainability options, that’s truly exciting. 

Categories
News Products What's New

Could These Spoons Made of Grains Be the Utensil of the Future?

compost spoons

It seems like every week the environmental apocalypse draws closer. New tweets and studies pop up everyday spelling out our doom in great detail. One of these states that by 2050 the population will balloon to 10 billion and the amount of plastic in the ocean will outnumber the fish, which means that, basically, we need to almost entirely stop using plastic — especially that of the single-use variety. One of the largest contributors to single-use plastics are utensils, which TwentyFifty are here to help eradicate with their biodegradable utensils. 

The utensils, which have the texture and look of an abnormally thick graham cracker, are made with a combination of wheat flour, soy flour, corn flour, and water. This simple mixture, somehow, results in utensils just as strong and durable as their plastic counterparts, according to the package. However, these spoons and forks can be planted in the soil, where they’ll be composted in around 10 days.

This is genuinely great. But, I remained skeptical of their usability. So, I took the package of spoons we had laying around the Foodbeast office, and put them to the test the only way I knew how: with a nutritious bowl of cereal.

For reference, my bowl of choice was Life — because it’s the only cereal we had in the office that wasn’t something like Maple Bacon Honey Bunches of Oats — steeped in almond milk from Starbucks, because my passion for utensil integrity is big enough to spend $3 on a small cup of almond milk.

The spoon held up well under the wet conditions. At no point did it feel like it had grown soggy, which was my main concern with a spoon made entirely of grains. I even let it marinate in the cereal milk for an hour, and it didn’t lose an ounce of strength. Functionally, it works like any spoon. I do wish it was a bit deeper, so I could fit more liquid in one bite. But, hey, sustainability beggars can’t be choosers.

Naturally, my next question was, “Well, can I eat the spoon too?” TwentyFifty’s website claims they’re “nearly edible,” and I’m here to tell you that this does, in fact, mean nearly edible. I almost broke my tooth trying to bite into a dry spoon, so I can’t say I’d recommend counting on these as a nice post-meal snack anytime soon.

The next problem to tackle is cost and availability. Right now, the utensils are largely only cheap once they’re in bulk. A package of 24 spoons will run you around $17 and are only available online at twentyfiftyfork.com. This makes it a hard bargain to drive when your local Walmart sells bulk plastic spoons for the same price. It makes sense that the biodegradable spoons are more expensive to use, but economics are economics when it gets down to it for your average supermarket consumer.

All in all, though, I was thoroughly impressed by these utensils. And so were many others, seeing as the invention won a Nexty Award. Once the brand gets their price point down and distribution up, TwentyFifty could (and hopefully) be the spoon of the future.

Categories
Health Plant-Based

Plant-Based Diets Might Significantly Lower Type-2 Diabetes Risk

A recent meta-analysis of multiple scientific studies has discovered that healthy plant-based diets can lower the risk of type-2 diabetes by over 23%, a significant figure. 

The paper was published this week in JAMA Internal Medicine and was conducted by a team of researchers from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health located in Boston, Massachusetts. It started from the kernel of the idea that one of the main risk factors for type-2 diabetes (the most common type) is the diet. And this health issue can be avoided, especially if people change their dietary patterns and habits.

More than 100 million adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes — the set of conditions that precede the development of type 2 diabetes, according to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A whole host of studies published over the past few years suggest that predominantly plant-based diets can reduce the risk of diabetes. The meta-analysis from the Harvard team concerned nine of these papers. They all looked at the possible link between dietary patterns and the risk of type-2 diabetes. If we look at the overall numbers of these studies brought together, we can see that there were 307,000 participants. Of these, over 23,000 suffered from type-2 diabetes.

“Plant-based dietary patterns are gaining popularity in recent years, so we thought it was crucial to quantify their overall association with diabetes risk, particularly since these diets can vary substantially in terms of their food composition,” notes Frank Qian, the first author of the review.

Why plant-based diets? 

Plant-based diets can have an astonishing variety and therefore can be hard to define. The study authors emphasized that they were talking about predominantly plant-based diets. And these are built upon consuming fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and grains. These diets can also have small quantities of meat but also unhealthier items like potatoes and sugar.

The researchers discovered that those who adhered more strictly to plant-based diets would benefit from the lower risk of type-2 diabetes, as opposed to the participants who were laxer in their approach.

This type of diet helps the body because plant-based diets are better at regulating insulin sensitivity and blood pressure. And the same foods can help avoid weight gain and can reduce inflammation.

This comes in the emerging field of plant-based alternatives to meat. From burgers to steaks, and dairy-free dairy, the sky is the limit when it comes to plant-based.


Article by Ruxandra Grecu from So Delicious. View the original article here.

Categories
Drinks Entrepreneurship Sustainability Technology What's New

Eco-Friendly Tea Drops Dissolve Straight Into Hot Water, No Tea Bag Required

As everyone is looking to be more eco-friendly on a day to day basis, one spot to look at that you may not be thinking of is your tea bags. As more than half of all Americans are drinking a cup every day, that adds up to a lot of plastic, which is used to seal each bag of tea leaves.

While there are biodegradable packaging solutions and metallic loose leaf tea infusers you can use, one of the more creative solutions comes in what can be best described as miniature tea bath bombs.

Created by Tea Drops, these unique products dissolve into your hot water in mere moments. They come in different flavors, including turmeric or cardamom, and one is good enough to make an 8-12 ounce mug of strong, aromatic tea.

These come in a compostable packaging, which helps cut down on the traditional plastic and environmental footprint tea bags have. While there is still some waste involved, on average, you’re looking at cutting your waste down by 20-30% compared to conventional tea bags. That, and you don’t have a leftover wet bag of leaves to toss in the trash or get in the way of your sipping either.

You can purchase packs of the Tea Drops for $10, each one containing 10 of the mini bath bombs. That comes out to about a dollar per cup, which is 2-3 times more than the cost per tea bag in a package you can pick up at somewhere Target. Still, for the flavor, environmental awareness, and convenience these come at, it’s not too drastic of a price difference.

Tea Drops are available on the brand’s website, but can also be found in local and natural retailers across the nation.