I’ve also watched several video presentations on this product. In those presentations it makes the typical specious numerical arguments regarding water use and ghg’s without fully understanding how any of stats like water footprint numbers are derived. For example , with a water footprint number. most [98%] of that number is the water to grow the feed, forage or grasses. For pastured cattle, 98% of that 98% is “green water”, which is essentially rain. Thus the issue is a land use issue, not a water issue, and where most cattle is raised is on land not suitable for crop production. Plus well managed cattle help build soils that retain more water, so they can actually help the water cycle.
Is Impossible Foods using dry cropped wheat? If not, when marginal land is used for crops, more “blue water” is often needed. . Blue water is what’s critical….not green water. So depending on how the crops are grown in this product, it’s quite conceivable that this product uses a lot more blue water than cattle.
Same goes with greenhouse gases, you have to look at production methods. Pasture cattle can be raised in GHG neutral ways where the enteric methane is offset by both carbons sequestration (see this peer reviewed study: http://www.jswconline.org/content/71/2/156.full.pdf ) and methane oxidation. Pastured cattle builds soil and regenerates soil ecosystems increases methanotrophic activity. Methanotrophs “digest” the methane made by the methanogens in cattle’s rumem via methanogenesis.
Now there’s nothing in this fake plant based burger that suggests that it’s using crops or farming techniques that improve soil health. Looking at the primary ingredients (Water, Textured Wheat Protein, Coconut Oil, Potato Protein, Natural Flavors, 2% or less of: Leghemoglobin (heme protein), Yeast Extract, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Konjac Gum, Xanthan Gum, Thiamin (Vitamin B1), Zinc, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12) this product seems to be using monocropped mutagenic wheat, potatoes, and soy by-products (soy protein isolate). The soy is also probably GMO. The B12 is probably also synthesized with GMO bacteria. That mutagenic wheat is grown with imazamox type herbicides and might be desiccated with glyphosate for harvest. Soy protein isolate is the extracted protein from soy flakes which requires heat and hexane so it’s a highly process product that was originally used for industrial purposes. This soy is also grown with glyphosate to reduce tillage. Any tillage releases carbon into the atmosphere.
Both types of herbicides as well as tillage adversely impact soil microbiology. …decreasing beneficial bacteria. So nothing about the ingredients here in this fake burger appears to be building or regenerating soil like well managed pastured cattle do. In truth this product looks like it’s very reliant on industrial Ag which is very destructive. Not to mention when land is converted to wheat/potato/soy fields, then cultivated, protected, irrigated and harvested, a lot of field animals die. So both the environmental and moral arguments for this product are a bit of false advertising.
In comparison to well managed carbon neutral beef, this highly processed made in a factory product is certainly going to require more CO2 producing utilities than 100% grass finished livestock living on land that is best suited for grazing. So the real answer to the environmental issues is better managed cattle, not green washed laboratory food. Support ranchers 100% finishing their cattle on grass using regenerative grazing management strategies.