What if you could instantly shrink your burger's carbon footprint by half?
While still enjoying the umami deliciousness of real beef?
When it comes to global warming gas emissions, everybody loves to point the finger at the fossil fuel companies. (Which they should, given all the proof showing that companies like Exxon were well aware of the climate-damaging impacts of all that CO2 they were spewing into the air for DECADES.)
But it's also important to remember that the beef industry is also one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide, uses insane amounts of water, accounts for 60% of agricultural land use (even though it accounts for only 2% of the total calories we eat) in a warming world increasingly afflicted by drought and lethally hot temperatures – and is the primary source of deforestation around the planet. If we want to get to net-zero carbon by 2050 and continue to thrive as a species, it seems pretty obvious that we are going to have radically change our relationship with beef – and fast.
"But beef is delicious!" you may be thinking. It certainly is! Which is why inspiring most people to voluntarily give up their burgers and steaks has always been easier said than done.
That's why Israeli food company Mush has come up with a novel solution that allows climate-concerned burger lovers to have their beef and eat it, too – by blending mycelium into ground beef and creating a 50-50 blend called 50CUT that they claim combines all the taste and texture of beef with the nutrient-rich umami flavour of mushroom roots.
Tasty ground mushroom meat with a significantly smaller carbon footprint than regular beef? Sound pretty good! I can't vouch for what 50CUT tastes like because it's not available in Canada but Mush is apparently building pilot plants in the United States and plans to launch sales in that country in early 2024. So maybe their hybrid mushroom beef will come to Canada eventually?
If it does, I'll definitely give it a try!
(Of course, if it's priced significantly higher than regular beef it's unlikely to catch on in any meaningful way. We have to reward people for making better food choices for the planet, not punish them for it.)