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🍏 Scaling Plant-Based Chicken Production

Climate 21

Photo by Tyson / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Tom Raftery
Guest: Christie Legally | Founder & CEO | Rebellyous Foods
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food | Plant-Based Chicken

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Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:32] “Rebellyous Foods [is] a plant-based meat company, making plant-based chicken available and affordable to everyone.”

[2:00] “Of all the greenhouse gas emissions that come from meat production, about half come from beef […]. But if you add up chicken and pork and turkey, you actually get as much greenhouse gas emissions as you do from the entire beef industry. On top of that, the beef industry is actually decreasing over time. The chicken industry continues to grow. In the United States alone, chicken now constitutes almost half of all meat produced. And it is now the largest consumed meat in the entire world after it overtook […] pork […] when pork production was hit so badly by swine flu and 2019 in China. So chicken […] makes up a large portion of the [about] 14 % of greenhouse gas emissions contributed from animal agriculture.”

[3:14] “Chicken production has an extraordinary amount of issues when it comes to both environmental and human health tragedies […]. The first is that to produce as much chicken as we do in the United States, it's between 45 and 50 billion pounds a year, we actually have to produce almost 9 billion chickens every single year in just the United States alone. As a result, chicken is produced in nearly every state in the United States in intensive growing operations. It produces massive amounts of manure. This causes everything from ammonia pollution in nearby communities to massive amounts of runoff, such as nitrates that go into the water and can cause other problems downstream.”

[4:54] “We believe that […] one of the best ways […] to address large scale chicken production is to replace as much of it as possible. […] So Rebellyous Foods […] exists in order to figure out how to make plant-based chicken products at much larger scales that are comparable to the meat industry. […] The US meat industry produces over 108 billion pounds of animal based meat. […] In the United States, we only produce about one half of 1% of that volume, or about 500 to 700 million pounds of plant based meat. And as a result, the vast majority of Americans actually don't have regular access to meat replacements.”

[6:10] “The other major issue is […] the vast majority of people also can't afford the price of plant-based meat. And given that chicken is one of the most economical protein sources, obviously from animals, it is far less expensive than plant-based meat is now. So most producers of plant based meat produce products that are priced about three times the cost of chicken products.”

[7:30] “Rather than run our company as a product only company, […] we also develop this equipment to make those products faster, better and cheaper than anybody has before. In fact, our new production system […] will actually produce plant based chicken products at about 10% lower than the price of comparable chicken products.”

[14:39] “The USDA runs what's called a Free and Reduced School Lunch Program where schools all over the United States can get federal money to help feed kids that are food insecure […]. Naturally this has to be a really cost competitive product and oftentimes they sell into the school's commodity chicken products. […] What we've done is we've created a plant-based version of that. And obviously it has no cholesterol, it has no antibiotics, is much lower saturated fat, better sodium profile, so that the kids can have a plant-based version of the things that they like. And on top of that, […] those school lunch programs are able to get reimbursed by the federal government using USDA funds to support low income students.”

[23:03] “The issue […] is that if you think about how we get from 500 million pounds of plant based meat to roughly even half the chicken industry, which would be 20 billion pounds of plant based meat, one of the big questions is infrastructure. How do we fundamentally work on that scale when no one really has ever vetted plant based need for scaled production like the chicken industry has done for their production? […] We believe one of the best uses of our equipment is actually to go into chicken processing facilities and actually convert them to plant based meat facilities, thereby allowing us to reuse the infrastructure effectively. […] It's very, very advantageous both to obviously consumers who get high quality, low cost plant based chicken products, as well as the communities that are living around in and working at those facilities.”

Rating: 🍏🍏🍏🍏

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 33 min | 🗓️ 05/31/2022
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