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Science

Interviews: The Hampton Creek Team Answers Your Questions 47

A few days ago you had a chance to ask the people at Hampton Creek about about their products and the science of food. Below you'll find the answers to your questions from a number of Hampton Creek employees.
Scrambled egg?
by Anonymous Coward

What's the status of the "egg beaters" type substitute? What's the nutritional profile - similar to egg? Is it cheaper to produce over normal eggs? I've been vegan for a while and find scrambled tofu with some spices (especially black salt) to be a tasty substitute.

Hampton Creek: We’re working on it! Just Scramble (the world’s first scrambled egg made from a plant) will hopefully be available to consumers by next summer.



Plant based evidence for environmental benefits
by Anonymous Coward

What evidence do you point to when making the case that a plant-based diet is less destructive to the environment compared to eating animals and animal products? The environmental impact of my food choices has been the major factor in switching to a plant-based diet, but I struggle to find concise, creditable data on the impact of my choices, specifically around the amount of energy, water, land, and green house emissions that are saved. Has Hampton Creek done anything to aggregate and present good research in this area? Can you make any specific claims or projections about the environmental impact of using your products?

Hampton Creek: We've done the math on this one! For every 30oz jar of Just Mayo you use, in comparison with Hellmann's, you save 278 qts of water, 4.3 sq ft of land, and 157 g of carbon emissions. For Just Cookies, we've even created a cookie calculator to measure the environmental impact! Check out justcookies for more info.



3D printing, food allergies, and shelf life...
by Anonymous Coward

There's a question I've always wanted to ask one of these food-science guys:

How far are we from being able to mass-produce foodstuffs, growing yeast or simple bacteria in a tank, converting it into a long-shelf-life shelf-stable package, and being able to print it out 3-D printer style to make lunch? Especially for those of us who cannot eat gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, etc.. It seems like the holy grail of food technology. Food replicators, but running with milliliter (or larger) droplet sizes rather than nanoliter droplet sizes to rapidly print & cook food. Kind of like a microwave, with large (replaceable) ink-cartridge-like containers on the side where you just tell it what you want, wait, and boom dinner is created, cooked, & ready to serve.


Gosia Malgorzata, PhD: Even though it sounds like science fiction, there are prototypes to make food replicators. This one is limited to sugar containing food but in few years who knows.



high carb vrs low carb
by layabout

This article is one study in a long line of studies that show that a low (40g/day) carb diet is healthier than a high carb one. How does the future of food keep diets under 40 carbs per day and still supply enough calories? assume 1200 cals for a woman and 2000 for a man. 30 cals/carb and 50 cals/carb respectively.

Hampton Creek: We’re not focusing on the strict nutritional details at this time. Our mission is really to make it easier for regular folks to eat better. And better has to start somewhere, so even if it is a little healthier, (eg no cholesterol in your mayo) that is a start.



Here's a question
by ArcadeMan

Are your products available outside of the U.S.A.? Do you have any Canadian distributors/resellers?

Hampton Creek: Right now we’re national in various US chains, in Hong Kong’s GREAT stores, and will be in Metro locations in Canada by the end of the year, as well as in Tesco locations next February.



Disrupting the global egg industry
by Anonymous Coward

Why is "[your] research is particularly focused on disrupting the global egg industry"? Thanks for doing the interview.

Hampton Creek: Our research is primarily focused on finding ways of utilizing plants to improve food. It just so happens that one aspect of food we have focused on is the industrial chicken egg. And that is for a number of reasons: they’re not very sustainable, they’re not especially safe, they’re a huge allergen (33M Americans alone), they’re not humane, and they’re rising in cost.



Research and the daily grind
by Anonymous Coward

Could everyone describe how your day-to-day work and goals are? Answers from the R&D people would be especially appreciated.

Carla Li-Carillo, Research Scientist: Our goals are to identify and understand the world of plants. Given that there are about 5 million plants, we have a long way to go.

I work on our high throughput screening, which is highly miniaturized and effective. On a typical day I will either prepare the plants or I will screen our samples through our many assays for molecular characterization or functional properties. As things calm down at the end of the day, I will either analyze the day’s data, or read scientific papers to better understand our results or to continue developing more assays.



Frustrated with lack of scientific understanding?
by Anonymous Coward

As scientists, are you ever frustrated with lack of scientific understanding of the public?I'm a molecular biologist and am always frustrated with the negative perception of science as artificial/sterile/zombie-apocalypse-inducing/playing god in the public's eyes. Do you have any reservations about marketing towards this anti-GMO, "All natural flavor, nothing artificial" demographic in a way that caters to their anti-science perception?

Gosia Malgorzata, PhD: Well, on this one Our policy is to use what the world of plants has to offer, discover and use its natural potential to create nutritional food. We do not engineer the protein, synthesize and etc. so if you ask me I’m not frustrated :-)



Eggs = Good
by unixcorn

Eggs are one of the best sources of protein, are natural and can be produced easily in a back yard chicken house. I have also read that most of the rhetoric about eggs being unhealthy has been debunked. Unless you are producing specifically for people with allergies, what's the point of an eggs substitute.

Hampton Creek: As previously stated, it’s not about eggs for us, it’s about using plants to make food better. Yes, we are using them for eggs in a few products right now, but we’re looking at other things in food, too, like sugar, and even food dyes. And why eggs? They’re not very sustainable, they’re not especially safe, they’re a huge allergen (33M Americans alone), they’re not humane, and they’re rising in cost.



Why would I buy your product?
by future sheep

Your product offers no benefit in calorie intake compared to regular mayo and none of the nutritional benefits of mayo made with eggs. Eggs are one of the most nutritionally sound food items I can buy. As a component in other foods, they're low calorie, high protein, and chock full of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids addition. Just Mayo is also more expensive than real mayo. So tell me, why should I buy your product?

Hampton Creek: I’m sorry, what are the nutritional benefits of mayonnaises made with eggs? Also, most eggs don’t come from very good places. Yes, some come from nice, free range farms. But the reality is that most come from dirty, filthy, factory farmed facilities, that are bad for the environment, bad for our health (not just nutritionally speaking, but spread disease and allergens), and inhumane, too. And at most places, it isn’t more expensive.
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Interviews: The Hampton Creek Team Answers Your Questions

Comments Filter:
  • Cholesterol (Score:5, Interesting)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday November 27, 2014 @01:21PM (#48474677) Homepage Journal

    so even if it is a little healthier, (eg no cholesterol in your mayo) that is a start.

    So, is mayo without cholesterol actually healthier? Since we now know that eating cholesterol has little effect on your cholesterol levels, this seems a specious claim.

    And why eggs? Theyâ(TM)re not very sustainable,

    Eggs are not inherently sustainable or unsustainable. They could be raising these chickens on some kind of bugs, maybe you could find some that will eat algae. Instead they're raising them on unsustainable feed crops. That is a problem. Many of our means of food production should change substantially if we hope for them to be sustainable. That's not an indictment against eggs, though.

    theyâ(TM)re not especially safe

    Well, unless you cook them. Pasteurizing counts.

    Iâ(TM)m sorry, what are the nutritional benefits of mayonnaises made with eggs?

    The same as the nutritional benefits of eggs themselves. They're made of a readily digestible protein.

    I care about food a lot (you can tell if you've seen pictures of me) and the eggs in mayo are the absolute last of my worries. It's the oil, which is usually some GMO crap (which means it's been absolutely hosed down with chemicals) and then the oil is processed with hexane, not all of which is successfully removed from the final product. That's a way bigger concern than the eggs could ever be for anyone who is not allergic to them, and who has not invented a moral quandary over whether they should eat eggs like every other omnivore on the planet, including birds. You can bet your ass that if we laid eggs, chickens would eat them.

    • There's even some evidence to suggest that there are other substances in eggs that reduce the body's uptake of cholesterol from eggs. Study: http://nutrition.highwire.org/content/131/9/2358.full [highwire.org].

      It would have been more interesting to have more of the responses from the scientists that work there rather than some droid in the marketing department. You can almost picture the person trying to pull out scarfs from a sleeve while trying to change the question.
      • It would have been more interesting to have more of the responses from the scientists that work there rather than some droid in the marketing department.

        I think that will have done them more damage here than good, by far. What's funny is that really nobody wants to hear a line of bullshit any more. Kawasaki just sent a clueless flack to be on Leno's Garage and show off their new bike and a good portion of the comments were about what a lame he was. That's at least half of what people will take away from the experience. Send someone who knows what they're talking about and can handle being on camera, or don't send anyone at all. Just send the bike and a broc

    • Re:Cholesterol (Score:4, Interesting)

      by trout007 ( 975317 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @02:17PM (#48474971)

      I realize everyone's body is different but I have done quite a few experiments trying to figure out what to eat. For 2 months I ate 3-4 eggs a day for breakfast. I really like eggs but by the end I was getting tired. I have always had high LDL (150-170 range). Eating the eggs had zero effect over 2 months. What had worked for me is what you are suggesting. I try to get the majority of my calories from good quality natural fats. The Plant based ones are coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oil. These are actual oils you can get out of plants just by grinding and squeezing. I also get some from nuts and avocados. I avoid the ones you talk about that require chemicals to extract them from the plant before being mostly removed'. The animal fats are mostly heavy cream, butter, and to a less degree from meats. As a 40 year old man I went from 215 to 175 and have kept this weight off for over 2 years.

      As for my cardiovascular health indicators everything improved with this way of eating with the exception of LDL which is still where it was. But HDL has increased and Triglycerides have gone way down as well as blood glucose levels. Plus I feel as good as I did when I was 20 where I felt like crap through most of my late 20's and 30's.

      Again this is a one person experiment and I don't know if I'll die from a heart attack when I'm 60 but I'll take how I feel over contradictory theories proposed by the pharmaceutical industry.

      • FYI, if an oil is certified organic, hexane won't have been used, nor any other chemical. It will be, as you described, oils from plants that are crushed and/or ground. This includes soy, canola, and other oils that one might normally want to avoid.
        • hexane won't have been used, nor any other chemical

          Not even water?

          Everything but everything that you can touch, feel, smell or taste is a chemical. Could you please elaborate on what you mean by "chemical" versus the (implied) non-chemicals that you get in organic food.

          [While you're trying to reply, please note that in my earlier years I've dome minor specialisms in both soil science (directly relevant to the question of what "organic" means, as well as what soil is) and food chemistry (as in "what is a c

          • *facepalm* It's obvious we're using commercial and food industry terms, not scientific terms. But this never grows old, so please keep it up.
            • Then the fucking commercial and food industries should try using technical terms to mean what they mean, not what they want them to mean.
    • And why eggs? TheyÃ(TM)re not very sustainable
      IÃ(TM)m sorry, what are the nutritional benefits of mayonnaises made with eggs?

      One of the most tedious things about posting to Slashdot is that cut and paste does not work. You can waste far to much time editing even the most trivial of quotations to make sure that they are readable. A little extra help with English grammar and spelling wouldn't hurt.

      • One of the most tedious things about posting to Slashdot is that cut and paste does not work.

        It's only tedious if you care whether C&Ps come through accurately. I don't, so there's no problem here. I typically don't preview. I'm not fucking getting paid for this.

    • I think the biggest safety issue regarding eggs (and chicken farming in general) is the potential breeding ground for avian disease and antibiotics-resistant bacteria. Low-density farming can mitigate this to some extent, but only at the cost of greater land use, energy consumption and cost.

      I won't argue the health benefits of eggs, but mayonnaise is mostly oil, not egg yolk. Hellmann's lists 0g of protein per serving. Unless you know of something dangerous about pea protein, I don't see the significance of

      • Finally, on a side note, I've never understood the argument that because some other animals do a thing it makes it morally acceptable.

        No, you've got it twisted. I'll eat chickens because they would eat me. Unless I was starving, I wouldn't eat a llama, because they wouldn't. I'll eat octopi on the same basis even though they're intelligent, although I do prefer to eat stupid food.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    >I’m sorry, what are the nutritional benefits of mayonnaises made with eggs?

    Since you asked, I bothered to look it up for you and compared your product with Hellman's mayo, which is made with eggs.

    Hellman's has lower carbohydrates.

    Surprised you could not do this yourself. Surprised enough that it makes me question if you are competent enough to make your mayonnaise correctly.

    Also, nobody except a few select persons care about what, based on the constant vitriol in your answers, is apparently an ex

    • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Thursday November 27, 2014 @02:29PM (#48475019)

      Hellman's has lower carbohydrates.

      0g per serving vs. 1g per serving. Margin of error stuff, and dwarfed by the bread you're probably spreading it on.

      constant vitriol...extreme hatred...tirades...insulting manner

      You appear to view the world through a private perspective.

      • You really need to get out more, and mingle with people who incorporate a diversity of viewpoints. One thing I've found about environmental extremists is that they tend to ostracise anyone who doesn't share their radical views and thus tend to think that the rest of humanity thinks like they do. Go friend one on Facebook and then publically disagree with what she says if you are in denial.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Environmental extremists... ok, the hard core granolas. Also includes all the people sermingly anti-whatever the granolas espouse. Agressive indifference is as bad and stupid as agressive pro-/anti-whatever.

          That being said... I'll stick with Heilmann's/Best Foods. Because it is just mayo.

          The product "Just Mayo" is in the same category as Miracle Whip. Logically, figuratively, legally, etc. Stop lying about it, it is NOT mayonnaise.

          If I was serious about it, I'd simply make my own mayo. Buy some local eggs.

  • > so even if it is a little healthier, (eg no cholesterol in your mayo) that is a start

    - this is a very specific claim. Can you please provide a link to the best paper available to support this? I have read a number, including very recently, which fail to support this conclusion about dietary cholesterol

    > bad for our health (not just nutritionally speaking, but spread disease and allergens)

    - can you please reply with a link to some evidence for modern commercial mayo (of the type your

  • The interview says

    Also, most eggs don't come from very good places. Yes, some come from nice, free range farms. But the reality is that most come from dirty, filthy, factory farmed facilities, that are bad for the environment

    but the reality is that though "nice free range farms" may make people feel warm and fuzzy they are MUCH WORSE for the environment than battery farms. Feed inputs are ~20% higher per gram of protein, and land use is obviously tremendously higher. We already use an entire third of the pl

    • Well said, nice to see someone else highlighting these facts! I've collected and shared few links and graphics that highlight this in an eye-opener of a blog post: http://blog.thevictoriavegan.com/2014/10/humane-meat-its-not-humane-for-nature.html [thevictoriavegan.com]
    • Moving almost entirely to plant-based food is the only way to substantially improve the environmental impact of our food production, and it's urgent for us to do.

      Hampton Creek's mission is an important part of that. It's just unfortunate that they seem to some extent to have bought into the anti-science, environmentally counterproductive attitudes of the Whole Foods crowds.

      Unfortunately, one side effect of a plant-based diet will be an increase in the rate of diabetes. Older studies associated fat with diabetes Because that's what they were looking for the time. This was driven by the heart health studies such as the Framingham study which we are now finding was also flawed with regards to cholesterol and cardiac health. The current generation of studies are now looking at carbohydrate consumption and there's a much stronger association showing carbohydrate intake driving car

      • by jensend ( 71114 )

        Diabetes is actually less common in vegetarians than the general population, and diabetes has a strong positive correlation with overall meat intake.

        The insistence that the type of carbohydrate doesn't matter to diabetes risk is absolutely false. Plenty of plant based foods contain sufficient calories without causing problems with blood sugar.

        Protein intake in many first world countries, especially the US, is hugely higher than it has been in any other era of the world. People subsisted just fine off grains

        • Diabetes is actually less common in vegetarians than the general population, and diabetes has a strong positive correlation with overall meat intake.

          The insistence that the type of carbohydrate doesn't matter to diabetes risk is absolutely false. Plenty of plant based foods contain sufficient calories without causing problems with blood sugar.

          Protein intake in many first world countries, especially the US, is hugely higher than it has been in any other era of the world. People subsisted just fine off grains and beans for millennia, without the high incidence of diabetes that exists in today's age of high meat intake and high refined sugar intake.

          here is one of many studies that says othewise http://www.todaysdietitian.com... [todaysdietitian.com]. also, this vid helps understand normal blood glucose reaction to carbohydrate intake. I forget where is in the video but he does say something about how there is an excessively high spike at breakfast as a result of our traditional high carbohydrate breakfast. http://www.diabetes-symposium.... [diabetes-symposium.org] I'm willing to believe that diabetes is less common in vegetarians, I just wish there were better studies on the topic. I suspect it

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We already use an entire third of the planet's land surface to support livestock

      And of that third, roughly 80% is pasture or range which is unsuitable for growing anything except grass. Good luck growing any other human consumable food on that.

      • by jensend ( 71114 )

        You don't need to. Livestock require 8-20x more land per gram of protein produced than plant based protein sources. Switching entirely to plant based foods would allow returning >90% of that land to its natural state and growing crops only on the most suitable 10%.

        (Of course, the shift in land use need not be entirely restricted to those lands; if livestock were abandoned the protein crops needed to replace them could be grown anywhere, not just on land formerly used for livestock. And your 80% figure is

        • Livestock require 8-20x more land per gram of protein produced than plant based protein sources. Switching entirely to plant based foods would allow returning >90% of that land to its natural state and growing crops only on the most suitable 10%.

          Much of the land of the continental US is unsuitable for growing any crop suitable for human consumption, due to things like lack of water. The western range, for instance: Attempting to farm it would be an ecological disaster. Cattle, on the other hand, can m

        • by hey! ( 33014 )

          It doesn't matter how much land it takes to create animal protein, not per se, not in relation to sustainability.

          The Great Plains once has giant herds of bison roaming across them. Humans could eat those bison sustainably as long as they didn't take enough bison to disturb the equilibrium between bison and grass. Taking one bison out of the equation would simply cause the equilibrium to produce one more bison. Reducing the buffalo herd from 25 million to 600 on the other hand is a different matter.

          What m

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