Tesla, White Castle, Pat Brown discussed on Radio Specials
Change your white coat for green. Yeah. So for most of my adult life, I was worked as a basic research. Scientists microbiologists. I was at Stanford medical school for about twenty five years as a professor and. And love their job and had zero interest in. Business and. Very little interest in food. I mean, I I like to eat food. But I don't think of it when I think about it when I'm not eating it, certainly don't photograph. It. So so this was a very unlikely place for me to wind up, but I had a sabbatical. Little over eight years ago. They gave me time to sort of step back from what I was doing which was basic molecular cell, biology, and genomics and cancer research and stuff like that. And and try to think of what's the most important thing. I can do given the things I'm capable capable of doing which is limited set of things. How can I have the highest positive impact on the planet? And I very quickly realized that it was a no brainer that that the use of animals is the technology for producing food is by such a humongous margin. Nothing comes close the most destructive technology on earth, and it's not just climate change, which a lot of people know about it's not just that. It's incredibly water inefficient, probably the most destructive aspect of it is that. Right now, it occupies about fifty percent of earth's land area either grazing or feed crops cows outweigh every wild animal every wild vertebrate left on earth by a factor of ten and the total number of living wild animals on earth. According to the World Wildlife on has dropped by half in the past forty years. There's half as many wild animals on earth today, and that's pretty much across the board. Mammals birds reptiles amphibians, and it's almost entirely, dude. Our use of animals is food on land. It's habitat destruction degradation by the massive land footprint and also. Resource intensiveness of of meat production in in the oceans and rivers and lakes. It's overfishing so animals, the food technology. Nothing comes close in terms of destructiveness. And what I realized was you're not going to solve the problem by telling people to change their diets just give up on that. It's just too hard even for people who know the problem and care about it to make that jump and that basically meant that you have to solve the problem without requiring people to change their diets and the only way to do it is to beat the incumbent industry in the market develop a better technology, that's much more sustainable, but it has to also produce more delicious more nutritious more affordable food because that's how you went in the market. And I was sure that that was doable. Though. I didn't know how to do it at the time. But I felt like it. Nobody else has really trying. And so I would just go on and on it and. Founded this company and started putting together the just by far the best team ever to work on food and studying meet as if it were a disease. I mean, just the way that we would study cancer in my old lab trying to understand the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the flavors textures inducing us and biochemical terms. So that once we understand the mechanisms we can find plant derived proteins that are more sustainable, and that have the same salient properties and make a product that outperforms meet in the ways that consumers care about. So you want to compete on performance not on virtue. You're not after those the Berkeley vegans who right, okay? And so curling Jong you write about food flavors the industry, get let's get your take on these this array of these companies and where they are. There's other companies out there that are trying to have different types of replace shrimp. Or there's other things let's get your take on the landscape that you cover this from a food lover perspective. I think it's a very exciting time because we have all these options now are harnessing the brain power and the technology of Silicon Valley, which is coming up with all kinds of incredible things we never would have imagined ten years ago twenty years ago, maybe five years ago. So the things that Pat and Mike or both creating are really exciting. And I think they're creating a buzz especially in the bay area. Everybody is so interested in the latest greatest newest hottest thing, they want to be the first to try it. And I know when the impossible burger. Versus came on the scene. There was just so much interest in it, especially because spore hearing that oh my God, it bleeds, and it has the texture of a burger and people can't really tell the difference. And I think that got a lot of people interested in it not just vegetarians, but people who are diehard carnivores. I mean, I as a writer who writes about food and just someone who loves to eat. I'm very intrigued by it. And also, I kind of am interested in what the future holds beyond that what else is going to come up with. This is the price point on these things going to be such that everybody can afford it. Because I think that's always a knock against things like this and even organics there's only a certain population they can actually afford this. And they're frankly, the ones who probably don't really need it. So how does that all play out? Let's talk about price because I think it's fair to say, you have sort of the tesla model you sorta starting high and some fancy restaurants, and as you scale the price will come down. We're on that path to getting to kind of an affordable picking something that's luxury but making a more affordable. Well, I'll tell you. We're we're. Very far along on the path farther than I thought we'd be at this point. Without getting into the precise economics what I can say is that. You know, we have our burger is sold as a two arms cheeseburger at white castle. And it's doing really well. The more important point is that the fundamental economics of the way that we produce it because basically resource expensive nece translates into. Fundamental he more expense. We less land less water less fertilizer, less of all the inputs that going into the animal based system and so- asymptotically. There's no question we win. And we think probably, of course, you don't know how long it'll take until you've done it. But I'd say within the next few years with a very high degree of confidence that we will have a product that costs less to produce than any ground beef or any from a cow, and then we can make it affordable to people who can't afford it. And that is a big part of our mission. Is you know, it's not just the original impetus for me is this is the absolute most urgent and dangerous environmental problem in the world right now. But it's also a big cause of food insecurity, particularly protein in iron malnutrition the expensive producing. And so that's something we want to address as well. Mike, southern how about cost is this going to be an elite sort of coastal fancy sushi place kind of thing for for finless foods and also the life cycle analysis. Have you done an analysis to say that you're, you know, tuna from a lab, the environmental impact overall versus one that comes from the interior of being a luxury coastal thing. I really hope not that would really be a bummer and sort of not what we're trying to do. That said, even if all we managed to do is to create a luxury product from this. We actually are making a large difference. They can go into how will drop the cost in a second. But I just want to hit that point at first because. People don't realize what an impact the like, basically luxury market has on the world. I mean, the top ten percent of people economically are the ones creating or fifty percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in terms of their lifestyle. And this is extremely in effect in a place like San Francisco where we are now. So we're producing as bluefin tuna, even if the only people who ever end up eating this the San Franciscans who eat tuna right now, we get a lot of our bluefin tuna from countries like the Philippines, which no longer can afford to fish their own waters because we're buying it out from underneath them. So even if all we do our switch people in luxury markets over to something like this. It actually does make a difference. That said we are trying to drop our cost all the way down to commodity good. We're trying to actually bring this down. So that everyone can afford it and bluefin tuna still makes sense for us. Because since we're working with sells, it doesn't matter if we're working with a really really cheap fish like aura bluefin tuna. It's all the same price to us. So we figured we might as well work with something that is. Luxury anyways in a touch our brand to it. It's funny that you said, you know, patent impossible foods are using the tesla model because we say we are using the impossible foods model. And we tell it to people all the time. So it's really funny to hear it trickled down the stage. But yeah, I mean, we really need to make sure that this is seen as something that is desirable. And tesla impossible foods has done a really good job of that have taken something that before was seen as, you know, not great like an electric car or a veggie burger and making it something so much more because you're selling it as a luxury good, and as something that is good on its own not even for its environmental benefits because if people were buying things based on their environmental benefits like we're talking about just go vegan. But that's not happening. And so we need to like show people that these things can be delicious can be good for you can be interesting to eat create that experience. And then as possible foods has done dropped the price to the point where you can actually create a commodity good that can be sold to white castle. If you're just joining us, we're talking about food innovation with Pat Brown, founder CEO of impossible foods. Caroline, John author of the food gal blog and Mike Selden co-founder of finless foods. I'm Greg Dalton. There are critics of these new kinds of proteins out there. We don't have any of them. On the program. We did interview. Mike Hansen was a senior scientist with consumer union. And he has concerns about this new generation of proteins. Where the new issues get raised.