Google makes it easy for employees to eat less meat

Google wants everyone to eat less meat, and it’s devising strategies to achieve that goal. Given the company’s massive workforce, makes sense that Google would try out some of its approaches on its own employees:

One theory: Restaurants need new recipes to compete with so-called “power dishes”–the entrees most commonly found on menus in the United States. Right now, number one is a chicken sandwich, followed by a chicken salad, and salmon. Out of the top 20, only one, a veggie sandwich/wrap, doesn’t have meat. Google, along with a small group of other organizations that are part of the Better Buying Lab, has spent the last six months experimenting with recipes for a new “plant-forward” dish that could make the list…..

The company’s typical strategy is not to try to convert meat-lovers immediately to fully vegetarian food; this is in line with a World Resources Institute study that calculated that if meat-heavy regions cut back on meat 17%, it could reduce their per-person greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by about half. The blended burger, like a similar burger now served at some locations of the fast-food chain Sonic, is a good example of the reduction strategy. The mushrooms, which soak up the flavor of the beef as they cook and add moisture, make the patty taste better while trimming the carbon footprint. The version served at Google has slowly increased the percentage of mushrooms in the patty from 20% to 50%. (Because beef has the highest carbon footprint of any meat, Google says it is particularly aggressive in its work to reduce the beef each Googler consumes). In other dishes, meat might shift from being the center of the meal to a side or garnish.


Nars goes to China and starts testing on animals. Fans aren’t having it.

If you use makeup on a regular basis, I have some disappointing news. Nars–which used to tout its cruelty-free policy–is now testing its lipsticks, eyeliners, and mascaras on animals. That’s because the brand started selling in China, where animal testing is required, at least for foreign companies.

Mashable reports on the change, with a link to an Instagram post where Nars attempts to respond to backlash from fans. If you click through, you can see that…well, it isn’t going so well.

We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see:

A post shared by @narsissist on Jun 27, 2017 at 8:18am PDT


Who doesn’t like a little pea in their milk?

Yes, I make puns like that because I’m nine.

But seriously, by some accounts, pea protein is the next big thing, and could help make an even bigger dent in the dairy industry. Here’s how one company’s doing it:

While dairy milk sales are dropping–one report suggests that total sales will fall 11% between 2015 and 2020–nondairy milk is predicted to grow from a $2 billion market in the U.S. now to nearly $3 billion in 2020.

In the past, consumers often tended to choose nondairy milks because regular milk wasn’t an option for them–they were vegan, or allergic to dairy. But the leading reasons now are nutrition and taste concerns; sustainability is also a driver. Milk has a large carbon footprint because of the production of grain for cows, methane from cow burps and manure, and the energy used to produce and distribute the final product. In a life-cycle analysis, Ripple calculated that it produces roughly a third of the emissions of dairy for a glass of milk because the main ingredient, peas, takes far fewer resources to produce–and peas don’t burp. Almond and soy milk have similarly low carbon footprints (though because almond milk has far less protein, if you compare the carbon footprint on the basis of protein, its footprint is significantly worse than dairy). Almond milk also has a much larger water footprint….

If consumers are choosing nondairy milk just to be more responsible (rather than because they can’t digest lactic acid, for example), Ripple believes that taste is critical. “Those motivations are more wants and desires, so if those aren’t met in the products they’re using, they’ll just switch back to milk,” says Lowry.

Anyone tried this cookbook yet?

Vegan Food for the Rest of Us sounds like a great addition to my shelf. From an interview with the author (conducted by Joe Yonan, no less):

I can say uncompromisingly that the moral edge goes to those who don’t eat meat. That said, food is very important to people emotionally, and it’s important to recognize that. Giving up food that has meant so much to you your whole life is a very big project. So do it gradually.

People should become morally more rigorous in their thinking, but better about cutting themselves slack. Food means more to us than sustenance — it’s comfort and family. You’re asking a lot of yourself to make dietary changes. So honor yourself and do your best.

Growing human skin in labs to curb animal testing

This is well worth a read:

Growing human skin in a petri dish isn’t the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the name L’Oréal. Yet the French cosmetics giant, whose other brands include Lancôme, Maybelline New York, Ralph Lauren Fragrances and The Body Shop, also produces gelatinous, dime-sized blobs called EpiSkin.

The company’s researchers use the lab-produced tissue to test the efficacy of ingredients and tolerance of products before they go to market. This is part of a larger, ongoing effort within the scientific community to reduce and replace the use of live rabbits, mice and other laboratory animals in tests and experiments.

Holy cow: Americans are eating about 20% less beef

That headline might seem like great news for our bovine friends and the environment, but sadly, there’s more to the story:

U.S. beef consumption fell by nearly one-fifth — or 19 percent — on a per capita basis from 2005 to 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said Wednesday in a report. Eating less beef resulted in pollution reductions equal to removing 39 million cars from U.S. roads.

“I’m used to bad news on climate, but this is a rare bright spot,” said Sujatha Bergen, the study’s lead author and a policy specialist in NRDC’s food and agriculture program.

“It doesn’t mean that we’ve done all we can, but it’s very motivating to know we’ve made some emissions reductions,” she said.

But keep reading:

Lance Zimmerman of CattleFax, an industry information service, noted that record drought in Texas and other cattle-growing areas drastically lowered the headcount of cattle in recent years.

U.S. beef production has since recovered, but not all of that extra meat stayed home. The United States was a net exporter of beef from 2011 to 2013, meaning that even though the nation was producing more beef — likely resulting in higher emissions — Americans weren’t actually the ones eating it, Zimmerman said.

Globally, meat consumption is expected to soar by nearly 73 percent by 2050 unless people make a concerted effort to cut back, the Food and Agricultural Organization estimated.