Sustainable Food Production With Plant-Based Components and Scientific Methodology

Sustainable food production through scientific methodology is a primary goal of Hampton creek, which has found early success with egg-free substitutes for eggs, mayonnaise, cookie dough and boxed baking mixes. The company is working to develop hundreds of other products so consumers can buy ethically produced, affordable food that doesn’t leave the type of environmental impact associated with industrial agriculture. The refrigerated cookie dough, which can be used instantly without adding eggs, milk or butter, substitutes sorghum for animal-based components. The mayo alternative uses Canadian yellow pea protein in place of eggs so the ingredients stay blended together.

Hampton Creek has taken a long, hard look at the egg industry and realized that switching to free-range egg production is probably not the answer. For eggs to be produced on the scale they are now, enormous amounts of land would be needed for the hens if they weren’t kept inside buildings crowded with birds. In addition, raising hens on pastures can lead to the loss of chickens to predators, even if the birds are kept inside at night. Hampton Creek sees similar issues with the dairy industry, which increasingly houses cows in large barns and never lets them graze on grass or even step outdoors.

There’s an additional problem that tends to make people uncomfortable, which is what happens to all the excess birds and cattle that result from the poultry and dairy industries. In other words, what happens to male chicks and the male offspring of dairy cows? Male calves typically wind up in veal production, while male chicks are simply dispensed with. The carcasses may be used as fertilizer or in animal feed.

Instead, the answer for sustainable food is to use science to create egg-free and dairy-free processed foods that traditionally have contained eggs, egg protein or dairy ingredients. Those foods must be reasonably priced and appealing to general consumers, and not simply to a small segment of the population. That means they have to taste really good rather than making people wish they had bought something containing eggs, milk or butter. The popularity of Just Mayo and Just Cookie Dough indicates Hampton Creek is on the right track.