FROM THE DESK OF BEN DAVIS
CONTENT & COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
PLANT BASED WORLD CONFERENCE & EXPO
It has been a huge month for plant-based foods, and the mainstream media and business community are paying attention to this space like never before. This is in large part thanks to the success of leading plant-based brands Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. The former of which launched the fastest growing IPO in the past decade and the latter announced a deal with Burger King to put plant-based Whoppers on the menus of over 7,000 BK locations across the United States.
With the world leaning in to get a better look at this whole plant-based movement, exponential growth, from an economic standpoint, seems imminent. And that in itself brings hope – for human health, for the sustainability of our environment and natural resources and for the well-being of all creatures who call this planet home.
In considering where we are, and the path that will get us where we want to be, I have been lead to think about our dualistic way of perceiving the world. In a quest for wholeness it follows that an “us vs them” mentality will never get us where we are trying to go. Can we take those aspects of our world that have ailed us – those things we generally categorize as “evils of our society”, and embrace them in a way that allows them to help us solve the problems that they may have initially caused? Can we let go of the notion that we always need to be fighting against something in order to achieve progress?
You may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about, or how this is relevant to food, or plant-based food in particular. So I have a couple examples:
“Evil” #1: Processed Food
Yes, the technology that led to the development of processed food has been a plague on our society. We lose countless numbers of our friends and family members each year due to diseases caused by the overconsumption of these “food-like substances” and in large part our culture has completely lost touch with what real food and nutrition even is. And because of this, many have shunned processed food as “evil” and vowed to avoid it completely.
But while an entirely whole-food diet is great, it is simply not an option for all humans on this planet. And the same technology that decades ago brought us Ring Dings and Wonderbread can now be used to serve an entirely different purpose. When we use that technology to process foods that not only taste great but also benefit the planet and improve our health, we allow ourselves to live a more balanced life without sacrificing the importance of delicious food as part of our human experience. Every time I bite into a juicy Beyond Burger, topped with my favorite plant-based cheese and some tempeh bacon, I feel gratitude for our ability to combine food with technology and turn that “evil” into a blessing for a brighter future (and a tastier present!).
“Evil” #2: Capitalism
Will the concept of “big money” always be at odds with our vision for a peaceful world? On the surface it may seem to be the case, as that is the way it has been throughout our history. It seems to me, however, like we have an opportunity now to change that, and here’s how:
Corporations tend to be concerned with one thing: profit. While those of us seeking a more peaceful world are concerned with things like health, sustainability and the ethical treatment of all beings. So, imagine if health, sustainability and ethics were all of the sudden seen by “big money” as profitable!?
What if Wall Street began pouring its funds into plant-based food products, allowing them to be scaled faster than ever and distributed to hungry mouths across the globe? What if massive corporations like Wal Mart and Burger King began stocking their shelves and menus with plant-based options, introducing these products to consumers who never even knew they existed and educating millions of people in the process? What if all of the investors and corporations making these decisions made a TON of money doing it, but it was all okay because they are making the world a healthier place and inspiring their competition to do the same? What if this was all happening… right now?
I see a picture developing. And in that picture capitalism is no longer an “evil” of our society, but rather a system we have created that allows us to distribute our resources in a way that betters our world and the lives of its inhabitants.
Perhaps this vision resonates with you, or perhaps you think I’m crazy. Either way, only time will tell. I remain hopeful that the more we can find gratitude for the seemingly darker aspects of our world and find ways to re-purpose them for good, the more we take away their power to tear us apart.
We are now less than one month away from the event that will be celebrating this philosophy. Plant Based World Conference & Expo is bringing together representatives from the largest food corporations in the world, powerful investors, scientists and technology companies, doctors and nutritionists, mission-driven entrepreneurs, athletes, politicians, philanthropists and every day people seeking to better understand how to make healthier choices. All are welcome to participate in the conversation and be a part of the solution!
Thank you for following The Plant Based World blog and newsletter and for helping us build something from scratch. Don’t forget to save money by pre-registering for Plant Based World and we will see you next month in New York City!