Plant-Based Secrets: A Seaweed That Tastes Exactly Like Bacon!
I Sea Bacon
In a small office in Oregon State, researcher Chris Langdon was busy preparing a new strain of food to feed for sea snails and abalone. A smile crept into his face because he was excited to show everyone what he found from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. However, when his colleague walked into the room, he immediately noticed that this new strain had more potential than just food for seashells.
Food for the Seashells
Chris wanted to find ways to cultivate the seashells since they belong to the most valued foods in the world. Luckily, he discovered a red algae that looked like translucent lettuce. He took it to the lab and found out that these were called “Palmaria Mollis” or dulse seaweed in simple terms. Chris fed it to the seashells and witnessed how they grew well. But he had no idea that in the next 15 years he’d spend developing the dulse seaweed, it would be more valuable than the seashells itself.
It was the day when Chuck Toombs, his colleague, visited Chris’ office. His vision instantly focused on the red seaweed that was on Chris’s tank. So he went over and asked him about it. Chris beamed in return and enthusiastically told him that he discovered a new type of feed for the sea snails and abalones. Chuck, however, went silent and placed his hand to his chin as if he was in deep thought. His eyes were fixed to the wedge shapes of the seaweeds, which for him resembled human’s all-time favorite food. And at that very moment, a brilliant idea struck Chuck’s mind.
Chuck told him that the dulse reminded him of bacon. Chris looked at him, quizzically. Chuck asked him if he tried frying the dulse, but Chris shook his head since he only had one purpose, which was for the seashells. Chris then grinned from ear to ear and told him to grab a frying pan. Chuck thought it was a silly idea, but curiosity hit him as well. So he took a handful of dulse from his tank, and they started an experiment that would change the nutritional food game in the future.
“This stuff is pretty amazing.” Chris was in awe when he took the first bite of the fried dulse they just fried. They both couldn’t believe that it had the rich flavors precisely like bacon. It almost made them forget that they were eating seaweed because there were no evident flavors of the sea. Meanwhile while munching, Chuck thought that this bacon-seaweed could be a huge potential for a new industry for Oregon especially for plant-based or vegetarian people. But he didn’t know that the whole world would crave for their meat-free bacon discovery.
Ways to Cook
The two researchers contacted the rest of the Oregon State facility and conducted a culinary test for their bacon-seaweed. It was proven that the dulse was safe for human consumption, just like any other type of seaweed that was found mostly in Asia. Then the strongest bacon flavor emerged from the seaweed when it was deep-fried, pan-fried, or smoked. However, Chris held a separate lab test in Japan and discovered more extraordinary potentials.
A lab in a Japanese university agreed to collaborate with Chris and made an experiment with mice. This was to test the nutritional value of the seaweed-bacon and its anti-obesity properties. They fed a powdered dulse to the overweight mice and observed for the following weeks. But the results showed as fast as lightning, and the entire lab was stunned.
The obese mice quickly reduced their weight because the seaweed improved the mice’s metabolism even it only fed in small amounts. They also discovered that the seaweed had twice nutrition as kale—which was famous as a superfood. Great amounts of minerals, vitamins, fiber, iron, potassium, and antioxidants were also found in the seaweed. But there was more…
Sixteen percent of protein was packed in the seaweed. This concluded that the dulse was indeed a superfood. Plus, it was delicious and grew so fast. Chris and Chuck knew that they had to spread the good news to their country, so they started exhibiting the bacon-seaweed in a few restaurants in Portland. But Chris had a bigger plan…
He wanted to reduce the costs for more economic growth and triple the production. Then in May 2017, Chris and Chuck built a couple of farms for the bacon-seaweed at the Oregon coast. They harvested the dulse for about 20 to 30 pounds a week. They also started commercializing the food in America. Since then, the savory seaweed-bacon was like an answered prayer for vegetarians, plant-based, and even regular-diet people. Who doesn’t love a strip of guilt-free nutritious bacon, right?
In the year 2009, Ethan Brown was pumped up to start a fresh day with his new office. Because he just successfully founded a startup company in California. This accomplishment made him giddy and skipped on his tracks while walking towards his office. When Ethan reached his desk, he quickly grabbed his notebook and jotted down his main goal, “To create revolutionary vegan foods.” he wrote. However, it was beyond his mindset that his company would soon be recognized as one of the “Best Inventions” because of his newest creation in 2018.
Beyond Meat was the name he gave to his company. After a phone call, Ethan threw his hands up in the air because he was able to close deals with a food manufacturing company. Then along with his team, they started formulating products that mimic a meat flavor, which was actually made of vegetables and other non-meat healthy ingredients. But this wasn’t the only reason why he was successful.
Their first product was a burger patty, which consists of peas, rice, potato starch, apple extract, sunflower lecithin, and pomegranate powder. It had a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and even proteins. Plus, people might really think that it was a real burger patty because it perfectly resembled the authentic ones. So Ethan came up with a genius plan.
Ethan set the launch date and targeted the grocery stores to have their products refrigerated in the meat sections. This strategy does not only appeal to vegetarians and plant-based people, but it also made meat-eaters attracted to their products as well. As a result, the first product they launched sold out within an hour. And they didn’t just stop there.
Because of rapid succession, Ethan received unexpected emails and phone calls from big names that wanted to invest in his company. From Bill Gates, Tyson Foods, Don Thompson (former McDonald’s CEO), Twitter founders, to Leonardo DiCaprio. Ethan couldn’t believe everything happened all at once that he had to pinch himself a couple of times—it felt too surreal for him. But he knew he had to step up his game further, so he started formulating another brilliant product.
When the masses heard the news, they anticipated the unveiling of their new vegan product. Ethan knew that he was on the right track in achieving his goal of starting the revolution of vegan foods. He was so ecstatic when he perfected a new product and proudly called it “Beyond Sausage.”
Variety of Flavors
The groceries’ meat section was filled once again with Beyond Meat products. Experts called it a “ground-breaking launch” because Beyond Meat’s stock rose to 700 percent ever since they added it on their menu. Ethan even provided three flavors for the sausage: Original Brat, Hot Italian, and Sweet Italian.
Many claimed that Beyond Sausage tastes exactly the same as the real meat. It had the texture, taste, and savoring snap of pork sausage. It even contained less than 43 percent of total fats and 38 percent less saturated fat! Because of it, the product gained huge recognition.
Time Magazine listed Beyond Sausage as one of 2018’s “Best Inventions.” Aside from its healthier benefits, the vegan product was more sustainable than sourcing a lump of real animal meat. The brand was also awarded the United Nations’ “Champion of the Earth” because of creating an excellent substitute for meat.
The Future of Protein
Beyond Meat has taken over the United States, especially restaurants in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City. But Ethan planned to expand in Asia as he already started supplying in Hong Kong groceries and cafes and they continue to grow rapidly.