Two Clean Meat Companies Lead the Way on Social Media

A while back we took a look with Underhood how insect companies are doing online on different social media platforms and the results were mostly appalling. The statistics show most companies are lazy to reach out to their audiences. You can find the article here. Underhood (underhood.co) is a Finnish startup that is measuring social performance of thousands of brands. Currently, there are about ten thousand companies, organizations or other brands analyzed daily on the service.

Another emerging new food business is Clean Meat, meat produced in bioreactors without the need of rearing and slaughtering of animals.  Clean meat- industry has a lot in common with insect-for-and-feed business: Both are high protein food sources that are offering a more sustainable alternative for traditional animal agriculture. Moreover, both are unknown to the wide audience and are facing the challenge of how to convince people of the safety and benefits their products offer.

Here below are 10 clean meat companies ranked by Underhood. Brands are analyzed by their social performance (language analysis, engagement numbers, and visibility) and given a social score. The scale is from 1 to 10 and you can click on any brand to see the full social analysis. The score is updated daily, the data shown below is from 11th of November 2018.

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Underhood’s ranking as in 11th of November 2018

The two largest companies in the field are also the best-performing companies in social media. Scoring above six tells of a good social media strategy that is being executed consistently. Just is updating their social media channels almost daily and they have a good number of likes on Facebook; over 300.000. Looking at Just’s numbers it can be seen that Just is very consistent how to they are communicating, but what doesn’t work so well is that people are not reacting to the posts.

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What is an interesting difference between Just and Memphis Meats is that Just is succeeding nicely in Facebook, while Memphis’s most successful posts are on Twitter. Twitter is nice and good to have, but Facebook is clearly the most important platform that should be priority number one.

Looking closer to New Age Meats- company interesting things can be found that others could learn from. From the top ten posts that have collected most likes, shares, and comments nine were done by New Age Meats.

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Top 4 posts in the past 30 days from the 10 listed companies as in 11th of November 2018. All four were posted by New Age Meats.

Where New Age Meats is not performing well is how they are responding to comments:

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At the other end of the scale, things look pretty abysmal and it is obvious that social media is not considered important at all. Aleph farms- company doesn’t even have Facebook or Twitter- page.

As we see it, it is crucial that brands of this new industry get active on social. There are a couple of companies doing it well, but the majority are not doing their part. There is no way we can convince people to take on new food habits if we do not spread the word in the most personal media, meaning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms. It seems the industry players are not taking full advantage of the excellent and cost-effective opportunity to market their new and exciting products. The revolution needs to have evangelists!

 

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Taponen’s list is dead, long live the list!

I started building a database about insect food companies in 2015 to find myself an internship position in the field. Later on, I continued upkeeping the list for competitive intelligence and business opportunity reasons.

In 2016, when I published the first version of the list for all to read and download, I never thought how the file would develop in 2,5 years. Today looking at the version 76 of Taponen’s list it is fair to say it is clearly the most comprehensive listing of Insect for Food and Feed- companies. Companies are not only listed but categorized e.g by home country and insect species they are focusing on. The list has been downloaded over 1600 times.

Even though the excel-format has served me and you readers well so far, it has its limitations and this is why the time has come to try something new. I am passing the torch of hosting the list to Golden and the responsibility of updating the list to all of you.

Golden is essentially putting together human knowledge in one easy place to edit and access. I teamed up with the Golden team to kickstart the database by uploading the list version 76 to the Entomophagy page. Also, my entomology patent database can now be found from Golden, that listing is part of Entomology-page. If you want to help edit the page and improve the data please go to this page here.

Taponen’s list is dead, long live the list!

The version 76 published on 14th of July 2018 is still available for download here.

 

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Insect Companies Are Lazy On Social Media

Eating insects is a big thing, even a super trend according to many studies and articles. But there are many obstacles to overcome before we change our attitudes towards the crawling things we many of us consider disgusting or even scary.

Social media is undoubtedly the best forum to spread understanding of the more ethical protein compared to meat-eating that is destroying our planet. But how good are the insect companies in their social media actions? Not so good, it seems.

Underhood (underhood.co) is a Finnish startup that is measuring social performance of thousands of brands. Currently, there are about ten thousand companies, organizations or other brands analyzed daily on the service. Each brand gets a daily social score based on data.

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Underhood sat down together with insect-business expert Ilkka Taponen to see how the most prominent ento-companies or brands are performing, and here are the results as in 23th of August 2018. You can see daily updating score here:  http://rankings.underhood.co/insect-companies/

Brands are analyzed by their social performance (language analysis, engagement numbers, and visibility) and given a social score. The scale is from 1 to 10 and you can click on any brand to see the full social analysis. The scores are updated daily.

 

Underhood ranking

Underhood’s ranking as in 23th of August 2018

 

The best performers (as in August 23rd) are Jimini’s and Wilder Harrier. They are both selling customer products from insects. While Jimini’s focuses on serving humans, Wilder Harrier makes sustainable insect-treats for dogs.

According to Underhood’s algorithm, Jimini’s is reasonable active on social media – they update their Facebook every second day on average, but Wilder Harrier has something to say to their Facebook audience only once in ten days. That is not enough. Preaching should be louder when the best performing brands on Underhood update their Facebook more than twice a day.

Follower counts need work too. There are only two brands with five-figure follower numbers, Exo (55,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter) and Jimini’s (27,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter). As a rule of thumb, customer brands need large follower bases on social media to boost their sales and spread the knowledge of their products.

So, why are these companies so quiet and modest on social media? Is it because they do not have good communication professionals to help them or do they feel that they don’t have interesting things to say? On social media, it is essential to keep noise. No one remembers the quiet ones when everybody is shouting.

As we see it, it is crucial that brands of this new industry get active on social. There is no way we can change people’s attitudes towards eatable insects if we do not spread the word in the most personal media, meaning Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms. It seems the industry players are wasting an excellent and cost-effective opportunity to market their new and exciting products! Revolution needs to have evangelists.

So, what to post? Here are some best performing posts from the listed companies ranked above.

 

 

Los derechos de los animales también incluyen a los insectos. Estas cosas deben ser consideradas.

El cultivo de insectos a gran escala es una industria relativamente nueva, y se espera que crezca significativamente en los próximos años. Sin embargo, quizás un título más apropiado para este tema sería IAHA, Insectos para la Alimentación Humana y Animal. Actualmente, alrededor del mundo hay docenas de empresas cultivando insectos al nivel industrial, principalmente para alimento de peces, pero poco a poco se ha empezado a vender productos para el consumo humano también. La ingestión de insectos como alimento humano se llama entomofagia, y no debe confundirse con la entomología, la rama zoológica que estudia los insectos. Actualmente hay más que 2000 diferentes especies de insectos usados como alimento, y los insectos usualmente cultivados al nivel industrial son el gusano de la harina (Tenebrio molitor), la mosca soldado-negra (Hermetia illucens) y el grillo doméstico (Acheta domesticus). Los Insectos son considerados como un alimento sostenible, especialmente para alimentar el ganado. Comparado con una dieta vegetariana o de insectos, la forma tradicional de proteínas para el ganado no solo es costosa, sino que también es ambientalmente insostenible. La producción de carne es inadecuada y usa cantidades grandes de agua, tierra, y alimento para los animales. Por ejemplo, una vaca necesita consumir 12 veces más recursos que los grillos, los cuales producen nutrientes que son comparables a la carne.

Junto con el tema ambiental este artículo enfrenta otra preocupación ética asociada con el consumo de carne: el bienestar de los animales. Las normativas del bienestar de los animales son basadas en el modelo de las cinco libertades creadas por Brambel.

Las cinco libertades son:

  1. Libre de hambre, sed, y desnutrición
  2. Libre de miedos y angustias
  3. Libre de incomodidades físicas o térmicas
  4. Libre de dolor, lesiones, o enfermedades
  5. Libre para expresar las pautas propias de comportamiento

La causa principal de los problemas éticas es que, al usar la forma tradicional de criar a animales, es económicamente más beneficioso a mantener los animales en ambientes que son innaturales para ellos. Por ejemplo, aunque ocurran problemas de salud causados por un ambiente innatural, estresante, y de tamaño pequeño, es más económico a tratarlo con medicamento extensivo que proveer más espacio y un ambiente natural.

Actualmente, con la formación del cultivo de insectos a gran escala, sería económicamente beneficioso si los productores de insectos respetarían las cinco libertades. Según los varios cultivadores de insectos que cultivan a escala industrial, y que fueron entrevistados en el documento de investigación “A Bug’s Life: Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare”, lo más semejante que el ambiente industrial sea al ambiente natural del insecto, lo más saludable y productivo será.

Sin embargo, sí hay unas excepciones; algunos cultivadores usan hormonas juveniles para prevenir que la larva del Tenebrio molitor mude a pupa o a escarabajo. Otro ejemplo es la manipulación de proporción entre géneros. Para maximizar actividades de reproducción, la proporción natural de machos con respeto a hembras es modificada. Estos son dos ejemplos donde se interfiere con los derechos de los animales, previniendo la expresión del comportamiento propio. Para aprender más sobre este tema, leer el documento, “A Bug’s Life: Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare”aquí: http://venik.nl/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Rapport-Large-scale-insect-rearing-in-relation-to-animal-welfare.pdf (nota, al momento este documento solo se encuentra en inglés)

La hipocresía en relación con los derechos de los animales

Gente tiene la tendencia de ser hipócritas cuando se trata de los derechos de los animales. Por ejemplo, los animales domésticos son amados por sus dueños; mucho tiempo y esfuerzo es dirigido a su bien estar, solo porque son considerados lindos y capaces de mostrar afecto. Los animales como las ratas no reciben la misma cantidad de compasión, y mucho menos las cucarachas y las arañas. Este hecho afectará significativamente la opinión del público y su relación con la industria creciente. Aun si la industria del cultivo de insectos venidera no fuera capaz de proveer un ambiente ético para los insectos, el público no estaría igual de preocupado con defender, por ejemplo, la larva de las moscas que el ganado, el cual hoy día es defendido más intensamente por el público. Pero el cultivo de insectos todavía no ha llegado a una escala comparable con el ganado. Queda por ver si la cultivación de insectos podrá proveer las cinco libertades y como el público percibirá la industria cuando crezca más.

Por último, unas cuestiones a considerar

Cuando se trata de la entomofagia, la gran cuestión moral enfrentando al consumidor es: ¿es moralmente aceptable a consumir insectos y otros animales? Y si no lo es, ¿está bien si la inmoralidad de consumir insectos es ignorada por el mayor bien?

Si son vigilados cuidadosamente, los insectos cultivados pueden ser alimentados con residuo orgánico. Este método claramente hiciera productos hechos de insectos la fuente de proteína más ambientalmente sostenible, aun más sostenible que el ganado y el pescado, incluso más que la proteína vegetal, por ejemplo, la soja. Si la huella de carbono causada por el producto final no involucra la producción de alimento, (porque solo es residuo), el impacto medioambiental solo es causado por el uso de electricidad en el cultivo, envase y transporte de los insectos. Cuando uno examina los problemas asociados con el cultivo de la soja, ni alguien en una dieta completamente vegana se escapa con una consciencia ambiental libre de culpabilidad. Por esta razón, hasta un consumidor que es consciente de los derechos de los insectos debe considerar entomofagia, para un impacto medioambiental más bajo, en vez de una dieta de proteínas de base vegetal. Un dato interesante: los veganos y los vegetarianos actualmente consumen insectos porque los insectos viven naturalmente en los vegetales y son imposibles a eliminar completamente. Por ejemplo, la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos (FDA por sus siglas en inglés), ha establecido que el nivel aceptable de fragmentos de insectos en 100 gramos de alimentos son 60 pedazos.

Al momento, desafortunadamente parece que no será viable a usar residuo orgánico para alimentar a insectos en la cultivación a gran escala, especialmente si son destinados para el consumo humano. Todos los principales productores de alimento humano están usando alimento de alta calidad para insectos, los mismos alimentos que pueden ser consumidos por humanos. No obstante, sí hay unas cuantas compañías enfocadas en usar residuo orgánico para alimentar a los insectos, pero solo para las especies que son destinadas para ser convertidas en alimentación animal, y no para el consumo humano.

Este artículo está a favor de la entomofagia, sin embargo, también existe una opinión opuesta a ello. Aquí está un enlace al blog cuyo autor habla en contra del cultivo de insectos, citando razones éticas: http://reducing-suffering.org/why-i-dont-support-eating-insects/ (inglés).

Lectura adicional:

Par información general sobre la producción de insectos, leer el reporte de la Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (FAO por sus siglas en inglés), “Edible Insects”:  http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e00.htm (inglés).

Un estudio del bienestar animal en la producción de insectos: “A Bug’s Life. Large-scale insect rearing in relation to animal welfare”: http://venik.nl/site/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Rapport-Large-scale-insect-rearing-in-relation-to-animal-welfare.pdf (inglés).

El artículo en el blog, Ilkka Taponen, “Using biowaste as feed for farmed insects”: https://ilkkataponen.com/2015/08/20/using-bio-waste-as-feed-for-farmed-insects/ (inglés).

Un artículo creado por el departamento de zoología de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México que expone la explotación de insectos comestibles y la necesidad de reglamento: http://www.redalyc.org/html/424/42445304/ (español).

Este artículo fue traducido del inglés al español, y aunque la traducción no es muy buena, la información presentada sí es buena. Relata de estudios que fueron hechos para averiguar el sufrimiento de los insectos: http://reducing-suffering.org/la-importancia-del-sufrimiento-de-los-insectos/  (español)      

Traducido por: I. Rueda

Clean Meat Supply Chain Faces a Unique Set of Risks. These Two Things Must Be Considered.

The Clean Meat industry is on the verge of commercialization as products are expected to hit the market in coming few years. In fact,  Just-company is promising to bring it’s products out already during 2018. While the Clean Meat companies are preparing their products internally, external companies in the supply chain are facing increased risk environment when operating in this new and special industry. What makes the situation very special is that we are talking about a completely new type of material that is not available today. Something very similar is happening in edible insects or IFF (Insects for Food and Feed) field where also new technology is producing a new type of raw material.

Supply chains can be visualized as a stream of supply where the goods are flowing down the river starting from the raw material producers to end product manufacturing and finally to end customers through wholesalers and supermarkets. When looking upstream towards Clean Meat producers a high level of supply risk can be identified. Supply risk, the risk that products are not been delivered, is higher than many other industries because of two reasons: Lack of horizontal integration and limited knowledge.

Lack of horizontal integration means that there is a very limited number of companies able to produce e.g. clean cow meat. There are numerous places to get slaughtered meat if your first option fails to deliver, but what will you do when your primary Clean Meat producer faces delivery issues? A serious production issue will leave downstream without promised products and no chance of buying replacing products as there simply isn’t anyone else to buy from. What makes the supply risk exposure even higher is the limited knowledge of the clean meat production the producer has. No one in the world has ever produced clean meat in industrial scale. It is very likely that during the first years of industrial-scale production unexpected operational risks will occur that will lead to some level of delivery issues simply because of the lack of experience.

What is different between the IFF and Clean Meat industries is that unlike the IFF side, it seems that most of the Clean Meat companies are not only producing the raw material but also making the end product. In supply chain terms the level of vertical integration is different. This way the supply risk is carried internally and in case of production difficulties the consequences are seen first internally, not at the end product producers’ factory. The risk of failed deliveries to supermarkets still exists, but in this case, a supermarket could fill their shelves with something similar like clean pork. This is not ideal but acceptable. Instead, an end product producer cannot do the same and for this reason, unlike supermarkets or wholesalers, they cannot accept as high supply risks.

Another way to reduce the risk exposure in the supply chain together with shifting the degree of vertical integration is increased horizontal integration. Eventually, the supply will increase when competing companies appear, but the increase of horizontal integration can happen also internally within a company by dividing production capacity to multiple locations and production units. When the whole production capacity of a company is not relying on a limited number of machines and operators an occurrence of an operational risk (that are likely due to the limited knowledge) does not jeopardize to complete production capacity of the company.

Clean Meat industry is still working on bringing the production cost down, but the IFF companies are already in the markets and facing the supply chain challenges today. There are no simple and easy answers, but when the time comes for wide market entry for the Clean Meat companies could look at the fellow alt-protein industries for key learnings.

 

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To look deeper into the risk profile of emerging industries’ supply chain check out my thesis Supply Chain Risk Management in Entomology Farms. The thesis is available also in all major audiobook platforms like Audible.  You may also see my presentation on the topic here.

The Two Compromises Limiting Alt-Protein Product Development

Future proteins, meat alternatives, sustainable proteins. The category of new products entering the market to replace the traditional and unsustainable meat in our diets has many names. Latest big article on the topic calling it the alt-protein sector was released in The Guardian on 30th of April 2018. You can read the article here.

In the article, some of the main players in the industry are interviewed. The main message given by the companies is clear: The most important thing in attracting large audiences and saving the planet is the taste.

“I don’t think mayonnaise, even ours, is healthy at all,” “I’d much rather people have a box of carrots if they are concerned about health, without question.” Josh Tetrick of Just.

“From our perspective, health is not the point,”  Bruce Friedrich of Good Food Institute.

The widely accepted approach shared by the interviewees seems to be that two clear compromises must be accepted in order to introduce these better options for meat eaters.

Compromise no 1: Healthiness

These modern food companies like the interviewed Just and Impossible Foods have a clean slate to do almost anything imaginable in the field of food technology but they have selected a path where healthiness is not the main factor. Is this really the best way? These companies might answer no, but at the same time, it is a must in order to attract large masses. Obviously, everyone would like to do very healthy products, but it has been accepted that as long as the taste is good, health- questions can be put aside.

Compromise no 2: Variety

When looking at companies like Just, Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, there is another question that they have accepted as fact: For wide customer base acceptance, their products must resemble known animal-based products they are aiming to replace. The products are aiming to resemble animal-based products not only by taste but also by how they look, feel and smell.

The thinking behind these compromises suggests that it is easier to market people familiar, but inferior product instead of unfamiliar superior one. It is important to notice here that we are not talking here about cost as the motivation for these compromises, but marketing.

These two compromises might be well justified, but they are very limiting from product development’s perspective. The management of these companies are telling their R&D- departments:  “let’s do a sustainable product and tastes good but it must look, feel and taste like this other thing”. When working from the point of view where you are copying something, not making the best possible product, you are incentified to sacrifice not only health but also the optimal environmental impact.

What if the management’s message to R&D would be the following: Let’s do a product that is sustainable, tastes good and is healthy? What kind of amazing products could these companies create if they would work without these listed compromises?

The clean meat industry is a bit different story. Clean meat- companies are not copying animal-based products, they are making the original thing but in a more sustainable way. Producing muscle-cells in bioreactor instead of rearing an animal brings an impressive list of improvements in comparison to the traditional method of producing animal flesh: No manure-derived issues, no use of antibiotics, the end product is free of animal-based pathogens to name a few.

The justification for the need of clean meat products comes from the well-founded assumption that people must have a meat option and to provide that to them the bioreactor way is clearly better way than rearing the full animal.

Clean meat- companies and the “plant-based meat imitators” are in the same line in the way that both want to introduce meat alternative to meat eaters. It is absolutely clear that there is a huge demand for this. In clean meat’s case, we don’t need to think of the issue of the product being familiar or not because the end product is the very same meat we eat today.  In the plant-based product’s case, this conclusion that product quality should be sacrificed for marketing purposes should be seriously questioned. If the imitator- companies follow the chosen path they are bound to find it to be a dead end. Eventually, the clean meat technology matures and the products hit the market shelves with comparable prices to the imitators. At this stage, the plant-based meat imitators have nothing on clean meat when marketing to meat eater audience.

For more detailed comparison of clean meat, plant-based meat imitators and plant-based meat replacements read my earlier blog post here:  https://ilkkataponen.com/2017/07/27/imitators-replacements-and-clean-meat/

 

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Nämä kahdeksan hyönteislajia ovat pian tulossa ruokapöytääsi

 

Parhaiksi ruokahyönteisiksi on tarjolla yli 2000 ruoaksi soveltuvaa lajia. Lajit, jotka tulevaisuudessa levittyvät länsimaalaisille markkinoille, määrittyvät muutaman kasvatusteknisen kysymyksen perusteella.

Oli kyseessä sitten hyönteiset tai perinteisemmät ruoat, valintakriteereihin kuuluvat maku, suutuntuma, ulkonäkö ja hinta. Lisäksi huomioidaan mielikuvat ja kulttuurisidonnaiset kysymykset. Esimerkiksi Intiassa lehmää on lautasella harvoin, länsimaissa sama koskee hyönteisiä.

Yksi hinnaltaan halvimpia hyönteisiä kasvattaa ja syödä laajamittaisesti olisi mustasotilaskärpänen. Mutta sen minkä tämä mätänevää biomassaa syövä kärpäsen toukka voittaa hinnassa, häviää se moninkertaisesti muissa kategoriossa.

Ensimmäinen määrittävistä kysymyksistä on hyönteisen ruokavalio. Lajin tulee olla kasvissyöjä. Jos laji syö ruoakseen toisia hyönteisiä, tuotantoprosessi moninmutkaistuu ja kallistuu tarpeettomasti: Kaksi lajia pitää kasvattaa, mutta vain toinen voidaan myydä. Hyönteisruokateollisuutta kehittyneempi hyönteisala on tuholaistorjunta, joka keskittyy erityisesti hyönteisiä syöviin hyönteisiin. Ala on ainakin toistaiseksi yrittänyt turhaan ruokkia näitä lajeja menestyksekkäästi sijaisravinnoilla.

Mitä merkitystä on sitten hyönteisen fyysisillä ominaisuuksilla? Keskeistä on, minkä kokoinen yksilö on ja miten nopeasti se lisääntyy. Ensinnäkin ihmisravinnoksi sopivan hyönteisen tulee olla sen verran kookas, että niiden käsittely ja hallinta on helppoa. Isosta koosta ei ole toki hyötyä, jos lisääntyminen on hidasta. Hyönteistaloudessa, niin kuin kaikessa ruokateollisuudessa, kun on kyse lopputuotekilojen kerryttämisestä.

Kasvatuksen helppous on itsestään selvä vaatimus, mutta mikä tekee kasvattamisestä helppoa? Hyönteislajista tehdyt tieteelliset tutkimukset auttavat vastaamaan tähän kysymykseen. Hyönteisen yleisyys muiden kasvattajien farmeilla on myös tärkeää, sillä munia tulee vaihtaa geenipoolin vahvistamiseksi ja useat yhteistyökumppanit vähentävät myös tuotantoketjun riskejä. Lisäksi monipuolinen ja yksinkertainen ruokavalio helpottavat kustannuksien kanssa.

Laajamittaisesta kasvattamisessa hyönteiset kasvatetaan mahdollisimman suurissa yhteisöissä. Tämä saattaa altistaa hyönteiset stressille, joka voi johtaa altistumiseen taudeille ja kannibalismiin. Vain lajit jotka luontaisesti elävät isoissa yhteisöissä tulevat soveltumaan laajamittaiseen kasvattamiseen.

Toisin kuin voisi kuvitella, hyönteisten kyvyllä muuttaa ruokaa kehon massaksi eli rehun hyötysuhteella ei ole kovin suurta merkitystä. Toki hyönteislajien välillä on eroja asian suhteen, mutta rehun hinnan vaikutus kokonaisuuteen on selvästi pienempi kuin tässä kirjoituksessa esittelyt vaatimukset.

Seuraavat kahdeksan lajia täyttävät listatut vaatimukset, ja joiden teollinen kasvatus on aloitettu: