Thanksgiving Feast! Locusts from EU Food Markets, Green Beer from Down Under, Mycelium “Meat” from Meati and Atlast Foods

by | Nov 25, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Thanksgiving Feast! Locusts from EU Food Markets, Green Beer from Down Under, and Mycelium “Meat” from Meati and Atlast Foods!



Last month, The Climate Daily reported on the rise of insects as approved food sources for humans and animals in the EU, specifically grasshoppers, mealworms and black fly larvae.

Well earlier this month, he European Commission added the locusta migratoria, the most widespread locust species, to its list of foods authorized for sale in the European Union. They will enter the marketplace…in frozen, dried or powdered forms, not live—as novel foods.

Novel Food is defined as food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force. Although there is anecdotal evidence of insects consumed as food in the past, no Member State has confirmed human consumption to a significant degree prior to 15 May 1997 for any insect species.

The goal is to market locusts as a snack or as a food ingredient in a number of food products.

And yes, in the frozen and dried forms, legs and wings have to be removed by the food business operator to reduce the risk of intestinal constipation. Why does lcusta migratoria matter to us?

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), insects as food emerge as an especially relevant issue in the twenty-first century due to the rising cost of animal protein, food insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth and increasing demand for protein among the middle classes.

Thus, alternative solutions to conventional livestock need to be found. The consumption of insects therefore contributes positively to the environment and to health and livelihoods.

FAO also indicates that insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fiber and mineral content. Therefore, they are an alternative protein source facilitating the shift towards healthy and sustainable diets.

DEEPER DIVE: Reuters, EuroCommish,



Jeffrey just reminded you that the future of protein flies, hops and swarms. I’m here to tell you it also grows underground.

Meati Foods harvests mycelium, the vegetative root of a fungi to make jerky, chicken breast, beefsteaks, and deli meat. Unlike processed plant-based proteins that use soy or pea as main ingredients, Meati can claim it’s a nutritious and whole food that’s more environmentally sustainable than traditional meat, says CEO and co-founder Tyler Huggins.

“Because our fermented fungi naturally mimic meat, we do not have to introduce harsh chemicals, complex processes or numerous ingredients into our products,” he said in an interview with Fortune Magazine.

The company cultivates specially-chosen mycelium for 18 hours in a process similar to brewing beer. The outcome: easily-moldable chunks that mimic the texture of real meat, packed with protein, zinc, fiber, and other vitamins and minerals. 

Huggins was raised on his family’s bison ranch in Nebraska. He says the goal of Meati is to help take some of the pressure off beef ranchers and encourage sustainable production. “We’re not out to replace meat,” Huggins added. “We’re here to replace bad animal meat.

Meati came out of a U.S. Department of Energy entrepreneurship program in 2019. Huggins, a field biologist and environmental engineer, and his co-founder Justin Whiteley, a trained material scientist, started Meati (nee Emergy Foods) in pursuit of finding an environmentally-friendly meat substitute that required fewer chemicals and less processing.

The Boulder, CO –based company claims to produce an amount of finished meat product roughly equal to the weight of a cow in about 24 hours.

According to co-founder and CTO Justin Whitely, “Our process is nearly 20 times more productive per acre than soy. Some big names are jumping on the bandwagon, too. Meati is backed by famous restaurateurs like Grant Achatz, David Barber, and Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio, so watch out, now!

DEEPER DIVE: Denver Biz Journal, Fortune, Meati, LiveKindly



Meati isn’t the only company manufacturing mycelium-based meat. Atlast Food Company is an Albany, New York-based, food technology company. Its patented platform uses a natural super ingredient called mycelium to grow nutrient-rich fibers that replicate the textures and mouthfeel of meat.

The reason mycelium is the vegetative matter of choice is that mycelium fibers grow together in a tissue that resembles the fiber-like network of muscle tissues in animals. That’s why it’s an easy material to manipulate into the meat shapes and textures we know and love. This also means it’s a whole structure, meaning almost zero processing.

Why does Atlast matter to us? By not slaughtering animals or using excess land or engineering nature to do something that’s, well, not in its nature, Atlast is helping reduce land use, recover biodiversity and save the climate. For instance, according to Atlast, it’s techniques use 100x less water when compared to traditional pork production and its vertical farms save land: 1 acre indoor = 10-12 acres outdoors.

Atlast was recently named a semifinalist in the $15M XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion Competition.

XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion is a three-year competition addressing the need for alternative proteins at global scale and recognizes the most promising alternative proteins that can replicate or outperform conventional chicken or fish proteins in access, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, nutrition and health, as well as taste and texture.

And you know what, Robert Downey, Jr. is an investor, so…

DEEPER DIVE: Atlast Food Co., XPrize, Bloomberg



Australia, one of the world’s top producers of coal and gas, has adopted a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would not legislate the target. He even rejected a global pledge, led by the European Union and the United States, to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

A lot of Australians are not happy. But rather than just get angry about Morrison’s decision, the makers of  Young Henrys beer in Sydney, Australia decided to take action to combat climate change their way.

Co-founder Oscar McMahon teamed up with scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). They found their answer: micro-algae. CO2 emitted by fermenting beer is captured into two 400-litre bioreactors, which each take up around one meter of floor space.  It’s fed to the algae. Then through photosynthesis transforms the CO2 into oxygen – as much oxygen as two hectares of bushland.

Biotechnologist and C3 research associate Dr Leen Labeeuw says a tree would take up to two days to absorb the amount of CO2 generated during the production of one six-pack of beer (brewing produces 35g of CO2 per litre of beer). Algae is up to five times more efficient than trees at absorbing carbon.

Why does this matter to us?

Young Henrys co-founders Oscar McMahon and Richard Adamson say the project aims to lead the way for the industry in making brewing a more carbon neutral process. Professor Peter Ralph, executive director of the Climate Change Cluster, says working with a sustainability-focused company such as Young Henrys shows we can address the climate emergency using technology that is readily available.

He adds, “Algae offers many solutions to the climate emergency; we just need dynamic, culturally connected companies like Young Henrys to partner with universities like UTS.” 

DEEPER DIVE: U Tech Sydney, RTE News, YouTube, YoungHenrys