BRB w/ Nathan P – 50/50 Hybrids, Charred Broccoli Medley & The Secrets of Sandhill Road
How blended meat & mushroom products can slash meat consumption, your next go-to side dish, and what every founder should know about VC funding (#41).
Welcome back to BRB w/ Nathan P, your 5-min weekly dose of climate information to inspire climate action.
My mission is to make it fun, easy, and delicious to make more sustainable decisions.
Each Wednesday, I share 💥1 Breakthrough, 🥘1 Recipe, and 📚1 Book on food & climate.
💥 Breakthrough: 50/50 Hybrids
Reducing our meat consumption – along with reducing air travel – is one of the most meaningful positive contributions we can have on the planet.
The data is clear: 20% of global greenhouse gases come from agriculture, 68% of which come from meat. And yet protein demand is expected to double by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing population and wealthier middle class.
🚘 Switching to EVs can lower our carbon footprint by 2%
🥩 Reducing our meat consumption can lower our carbon footprint by 20%.
However, it is clear that many do not want to give up meat – for cultural, health, taste, social, and nostalgic reasons. In the US, 95% of Americans are non-vegetarian and 99% are non-vegan. How else can we approach this?
Giving up meat products is not the only option to reduce meat consumption. Hybrid products – blended with veggies or mushrooms – offer tasty and often cheaper alternatives for the majority of the population to cut their meat consumption by 50%.
Early research shows promise:
42% of people are anti-giving up meat, and they have higher expected liking and purchase intention for 50/50 hybrid product than 100% plant-based products (Tarrega et al., 2020).
56% of plant-based consumers would also be interested in buying blended options (Hartman Group, 2019)
While there have been few CPG products to validate this value proposition, sales in grocery stores and food service show promising signs:
German supermarket chain Rewe now offers 50/50 meat/veggie blends in 1,800 locations
Yale Dining replaced beef in their burgers with a 60/40 beef/mushroom blend almost a decade ago, with positive reviews from students (I was of them 😋)
I also believe that trial through restaurants and food service – where these hybrids can be expertly prepared – is also more likely to sway customers. At Yale, I don’t think anyone noticed that the burgers were 40% mushrooms unless they asked.
In March, I had the chance to try 50/50 chicken/mycelium nuggets from Mush Foods – and they blew me away. Crispy and juicy, these nuggets also get extra fiber, iron, and B12 from the mycelium.
California-based 50/50 Foods is also exploring this premise with mushroom & plant-based blend options. As their CEO Andrew Arentowicz explains:
“I’m too practical to let perfect be the enemy of the good. Cutting beef consumption in half will save lots of animals, so we’re technically on the same team.”
I believe hybrid products should be another option to reduce meat consumption. Still eating meat with lower inclusion would result in killing half the animals, even if the goal is to go even lower. I also believe mushrooms to be the best blending option (I’m a little biased).
Maybe Americans can have their meat and eat it, too. What do you think?
🥘 Recipe: Charred Broccoli Medley
Broccoli steaks are the perfect savory sidekick for your next dinner – whether it’s with other protein, grains, or veggies. Drizzle on your favorite sauce and thank me later.
In this recipe, I charred broccoli slices and topped it with sautéd red peppers, shallots, and paprika oil. Reply to this email for the recipe.
If you make it, please send pictures :)
📚 Book: The Secrets of Sand Hill Road
Scott Kupor joined LoudCloud in the early days of the dot com boom. LoudCloud was a cloud operations platform that later went public as Opsware. Its founders? Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, who would later found the legendary VC a16z, where Scott is a managing partner today.
The Secrets of Sand Hill Road – named after the stretch of concentrated VC activity from Menlo Park to Palo Alto – unveils how VC capital turbocharges start-ups and what every founder should know. It highlights what makes VCs interested in start-ups, what deal terms to be aware of, and what funding mistakes to avoid.
What surprised me the most is how small VC funding is compared to other capital like buyout funds or hedge funds, yet the disproportional impact it has on society.
For context, start-ups raised $33B from investors in 2017. At the same time:
the buyout industry raised $450B
hedge funds manages $3T
the US GDP is $17B
Only accounting for a mere 4% of GDP, VC funding supports start-ups that account for 35% of employment and 85% of R&D spend. Mind-blowing.
I believe start-ups can be effective vehicles for change, equipped with the right people, culture, systems, and willpower to do things differently and better.
Secrets of Sand Hill Road unveils the behind-the-scenes of both the start-up and VC world, and gives great context on all things founder should know in the fundraising journey. Hope you enjoy and would love to hear what resonates with you.
Some favorite quotes:
“Live to fight another day” is another great startup mantra to always keep front and center in your mind.
You have to be partly delusional to start a company given the prospects of success and the need to keep pushing forward in the wake of the constant stream of doubters.
Whatever the evidence, the fundamental question VCs are trying to answer is: Why back this founder against this problem set versus waiting to see who else may come along with a better organic understanding of the problem?
Thank you for reading – BRB next week ✌️
Hi there! My name is Nathan Paumier – I’m an avid reader, food enthusiast, and climate optimist. I started this newsletter after frequent questions on food tech, reading recommendations, and my secret recipes.
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