Eating a veggie burger used to mean consuming a mushy, flavorless patty that you would never confuse with a beef burger. But now products from companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, Eat Just, and others that were once fringe players in the food space are dominating the media, menus in restaurants, and the refrigerated sections of our grocery stores. With the help of scientists working in futuristic labs––making milk without cows and eggs without chickens––start-ups are creating wholly new food categories. Real food is being replaced by high-tech.
Technically Food: Inside Silicon Valley’s Mission to Change What We Eat by investigative reporter Larissa Zimberoï¬€ is the first comprehensive survey of the food companies at the forefront of this booming business. Zimberoff pokes holes in the mania behind today’s changing food landscape to uncover the origins of these mysterious foods and demystify them. These sometimes ultraprocessed and secretly produced foods are cheered by consumers and investors because many are plant-based—often vegan—and help address societal issues like climate change, animal rights, and our planet’s dwindling natural resources. But are these products good for our personal health?
Through news-breaking revelations, Technically Food examines the trade-oï¬€s of replacing real food with technology-driven approximations. Chapters go into detail about algae, fungi, pea protein, cultured milk and eggs, upcycled foods, plant-based burgers, vertical farms, cultured meat, and marketing methods. In the final chapter Zimberoff talks to industry voices––including Dan Barber, Mark Cuban, Marion Nestle, and Paul Shapiro––to learn where they see food in 20 years.
As our food system leaps ahead to a sterilized lab of the future, we think we know more about our food than we ever did. But because so much is happening so rapidly, we actually know less about the food we are eating. Until now.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Algae
The Future Food That's Always in the Future 7
Chapter 2 Fungi
A Steak Substitute … and Flavor Enhancer? 27
Chapter 3 Pea Protein
Finally, Something That Could Topple Big Soy 45
Chapter 4 Milk and Eggs
If No Animals Were Involved, Is It Vegan? 67
Chapter 5 Upcycling
Rescuing Edible Stuff to Make … More Edible Stuff? 87
Chapter 6 Plant-Based Burgers
Can Plants Replace Red Meat? 107
Chapter 7 Vertical Farms
Can Premium Greens Picked by Robots Feed the World? 123
Chapter 8 Cell-Based Meat
Will Animal Analogues Make It Beyond an Elite Niche? 147
Chapter 9 Are We Buying What They're Selling? 171
Chapter 10 What Are We Eating in Twenty Years? 191
Note on Sources 217
About the Author 234