Right thing, doing finally.
Silicon Valley investors and startups are trying to improve our food. Do they bring anything to the table?
Hampton Creek Foods and other startups have big dreams of restructuring the food supply so that it uses less land, water, energy, and other resources. In doing so, they are taking on corporate giants such as ConAgra, General Mills, and Kraft that spend billions on research and technology development.
Such ambitions have run up against considerable challenges in industries such as clean tech. But those involved in the new food binge might prefer a different example. Hampton Creek’s CEO, Josh Tetrick, wants to do to the $60 billion egg industry what Apple did to the CD business. “If we were starting from scratch, would we get eggs from birds crammed into cages so small they can’t flap their wings, shitting all over each other, eating antibiotic-laden soy and corn to get them to lay 283 eggs per year?” asks the strapping former West Virginia University linebacker. While an egg farm uses large amounts of water and burns 39 calories of energy for every calorie of food produced, Tetrick says he can make plant-based versions on a fraction of the water and only two calories of energy per calorie of food — free of cholesterol, saturated fat, allergens, avian flu, and cruelty to animals. For half the price of an egg.