Plant-based alternatives are cropping up all over town, celebrating a new approach to the health of our own bodies and our planet. By replacing animal-based foods with alternatives that are becoming more and more satisfying, individuals are making small changes that have a huge collective impact. The benefits of a plant-based diet reach far and wide, from conserving water and protecting natural habitats, to cutting down on an individual’s carbon footprint.
The Meaty Problem at Hand
And according to the United Nations, this is a much-needed change. In fact, one of the world’s most urgent problems today is meat. At the center of our plates and our entire food system, meat has brought a catastrophic rise in greenhouse gas emissions. It has even left us with a greenhouse gas footprint that rivals that of every car, truck, bus, ship, airplane, and rocket ship combined.
The magnitude of the problem is clearly a challenge but thanks to innovations in science and technology, we are beginning to make the impossible, possible. Just look at the Impossible Burger! Taking over almost every menu, even that of the famed Burger King Whopper menu, plant-based foods are entering the mainstream and people are gobbling it up.
A New Approach: Cell-Based Seafood
Meanwhile, there is another disruptive approach on the rise, cell-based seafood. Cell-based seafood involves the use of embryonic fish cells grown within a controlled lab environment. Not only does the production process eliminate nearly all animal cruelty, it makes much more efficient use of resources and will do much less damage to the planet as a whole.
Relieving the financial and ecological pressures placed by large-scale factory fish farming and capture, cell-based seafood enhances species conservation and reduces the environmental pollutants that are associated with the current industrial approach.
While an emerging alternative, the cell-based seafood approach is entering at a positive time in the market when individuals are becoming more and more conscious of their food choices and its innate impact on the future of the planet.
A leader in the industry Alain Rostain, the CEO of Clean Research, brings a passion to his work that is as deep as the ocean. “By accelerating the research and development of making real fish meat (the fillet) directly from cells, I’m truly excited by the opportunity to provide consumers with cleaner seafood options while accelerating our transition from a factory-farm based economy to a bioprocess economy. Knowing that my work could help transform the food economy and this planet for future generations contributes to my enthusiasm on a daily basis,” he says.
Advancing Food Alternatives
Alain’s company is currently working to accelerate the research and development of cell-based lean fish. Bringing a collaborative approach to the industry, Clean Research is setting standards with the quality of its approach to science and technology. Within the next five years, Clean Research hopes the field can start to move successfully from public research and development to private commercialization efforts.
The Road Ahead
This could be just the kind of forward motion we need after the recent wave of plant-based alternatives. Because according to Alain Rostain, we still have a long way to go. “While plant-based foods are becoming more available, it’s important to remember that it is only with cell-based meat, poultry, and seafood that we will replace what is normally eaten on a daily basis. Obviously, our industry has made some progress in just a few short years, but there is an even longer road ahead,” he adds.
A former computer strategist and leader of insight-based breakthrough innovations, Alain Rostain is no fish out of water when it comes to progress and disruption. His approach may be a little unconventional, but it is also proof that if we think outside of the box and put our minds together, there is no limit to the problems we can solve and the advancements we can make on our planet. It is also proof that it may just be worth taking a shot at the ‘impossible.’
“We are not only taking on reinventing how we make real seafood, but also attempting to bring this essential research and development back into the public domain; the field got competitive too early. Many think what I am trying to do is impossible. It may only be nearly impossible. Since it’s necessary for our children and their children, I am optimistic we will find a way,” he says.