To date, protein is being made from a process that converts carbon dioxide into an ingredient that copies nutritional values found in animal protein and has been announced by the company, Air Protein. Their goal is to create microbe-derived protein for burgers and tacos, competing with Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.
Introducing the first air-based meat from Air Protein
Air Protein is a startup company based in the Bay area. They are introducing their version of air-based meat, using technology discovered by NASA back in the 60s when scientists were experimenting with ways to feed astronauts in space.
They discovered they could use microorganisms to convert carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts and turn them into food.
Air Protein said their process is similar to processing yogurt. It's made in a closed fermenter where natural microbes consume carbon dioxide and what they refer to as a blend of “mineral nutrients” to create an ingredient that is 80% protein.
It's believed to have the same nutritional value as meat but does not contain hormones or antibiotics. Air Protein also believes it has 2 times the protein found in soybeans. They said their process is different from Beyond Meat and Impossible foods that use protein made from soybeans and peas.
In a statement by Jeremy Ertl, spokesperson for Air Protein, this revolutionary new protein source will be able to make meatless burgers, protein-rich pasta, cereals, beverages, and so much more.
This new product developed by Air Protein is just one of the latest inventions in the field of alternative meats. The goal is to transform the consumption of American food. The market for plant-based foods has grown significantly by 11% over the past year.
According to the Plant-Based Foods Association, this new industry is bringing in a total of $4.5 billion to date.
There are already plant-based foods on the market including pasta, cauliflower, chickpea, pizza, oat mild, and meatless burgers. Many of these products are already available in grocery stores and fast-food chains.
As of late, Burger King has announced they will add meatless Impossible Burgers in kids' meals and chains like KFC, White Castle, and Del Toro are already carrying alternatives.
These products are high in demand, not just by consumers with food allergies but also among meat-eaters who are looking for alternatives for protein. Many consumers are looking for sustainable options in the diets.
According to data collected by a market research firm, NPD Group, it shows that approximately 95% of consumers who bought a plant-based burger still eat meat.