The Lede, Thursday, May 10, 2018
By David Royse
You may not have marked it on your calendar, but today is National Shrimp Day
The future of shrimp
A few days ago I brought you the story of changes in the world of meat – and how real beef producers are worried about plant-based substitutes, which are easier on the ecosystem.
Today, in honor of National Shrimp Day, let’s look at the same issue, in the world of tasty crustaceans.
Just as with the worst of feed lot agriculture, the farmed shrimp world (which is where we get well over half of our shrimp) has some ecological issues, mainly pollution, but that’s not the big problem in the industry. The bad thing about the shrimp industry is what happens downstream in the production process – it is its toll on people in the processing industry in some developing countries.
The Associated Press had an important story a couple years ago about how much of the shrimp we eat is being peeled by enslaved workers.
While some groups are working on trying to fix that situation – others have just said, let’s find something else.
As with meat, some people are looking at possible replacements for shrimp.
This company, New Wave Foods, makes plant-based shrimp, which it says is “shrimp for everyone.”
From New Wave’s website:
“Dominique Barnes and Michelle Wolf co-founded New Wave Foods in the fall of 2015 after being accepted to develop plant-based seafood alternatives at Indie Bio, the world’s largest biotech accelerator. Since then, they’ve been working in the Bay Area to perfect New Wave Foods’ first product: an algae- and plant-based shrimp…..
“Sustainable plant-based shrimp that it is made entirely from algae and natural ingredients only, with no animal (or sea animal) products. It is Vegan, Vegetarian & Kosher!”
Forbes included Barnes and Wolf in its look at women leading the future of food last year. Wired also noticed.
It’s a little different from the faux beef that has farmers in Missouri all upset because rather than engineering new proteins in the lab, New Wave is using algae and natural plant-based proteins. There’s no Frankenstein science – they’re not engineering shrimp cells – and they’re not using fish or shrimp parts like some companies that make imitation crab meat do, it’s all plant-based.
“Our shrimp isn’t made in a lab,” Barnes told deli Market News earlier this year. “The process is more akin to making bread, and algae is our flour. We focused on texture first. Getting the shrimp texture right delivers an authentic dining experience with a new product like algae-and-plant-based shrimp.”
Shrimp farming isn’t going away, though hopefully international attention on bad labor practices is leading to improvements in that area. In fact, the shrimp farming industry is growing thanks to very high demand for shrimp. China is by far the largest producer, followed by Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
A number of groups are working on the sustainability issue – while also trying to help communities in those developing countries improve production.
And while, wild shrimp landings account for less product than farmed shrimp, that industry is also doing OK, again because demand is high.
Smell those shrimp, they’re beginnin’ to boil …
Meanwhile, in land farming news
Is the future of farming in shipping containers?
TODAY’S GOOD IDEAS:
From his write-up:
“Inspired by the body’s approach for breaking down alcohol, we chose three natural enzymes that convert alcohol into harmless molecules that are then excreted. That might sound simple, because these enzymes were not new, but the tricky part was to figure out a safe, effective way to deliver them to the liver…..This sort of antidote won’t stop people from going too far when consuming alcohol, but it could help them recover quicker. In the meantime, we plan on drinking responsibly, and hope that you do too.”
Baby You Can Drive My Car: A fight is brewing for car rental companies. They’re worried about a changing model – the Uberfication of loaning out cars. Quartz
I Heard You On the Wireless Back in ’52. There is an emerging technology that could allow for increased use of air waves, through dynamic distribution of the spectrum. (What that means is explained). Government CIO Media
Country Roads, Take Me Home: Driverless Car Update – Teaching Them To Drive on Rural Roads. Metro
NOTES FROM THE AGE OF DISRUPTION:
Is changing small businesses, neighborhoods and cities. Axios
Is cracking down on apps that send location data to third parties 9To5Mac