BUMP Burger Builder - Round three

The third and final BUMP Burger Builder box is being packed and will be ready to ship out at the end of the week. It will be just in time for what should be a beautiful weekend for grilling outside.

The variable we're examining for the final box is the ratio of plant and animal protein in the burger patties. We blend protein types in BUMP products for two main reasons.

First, it aids with moisture and shape retention. This was something we first noticed with our original BUMP Blend. When we tested BUMP meatloaf and burger patties we discovered that moisture retention was as much as 25% higher compared to lean ground beef. Hopefully you've noticed that BUMP Burger patty samples shrink a lot less than all-beef burgers when you cook them. The reduced shrinkage gives you better bun coverage, but it also means that less moisture is squeezed out during cooking. This is why BUMP Burgers are nice and juicy, even with only a moderate amount of fat.

Second, by using plant protein, we’re able to dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of BUMP products. For every 10% of animal meat we replace with plant protein, we reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 9%. The more plant protein we use, the less land and water required too.

Why is this important?

The reality is that livestock production is a resource intensive process. Currently it accounts for 14.5% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally and 77% of all agricultural land in the world is dedicated to it. That's a problem because we see demand growing for meat dramatically in the next ten years. Over the past decade, more than three million people have joined the global middle class each week. What that means is that they have more income to purchase non-essential goods and improve their quality of life. Often one of the first changes they make is to start eating more meat. That's like the entire population of Canada increasing their meat consumption every three months!

I love meat, and I know how important it is in many people's lives. But I also know that if we want to continue to be able to feed ourselves without exhausting our planet, we need to make meat differently. Our goal with BUMP is to make products that require fewer resources to produce, but that don't require any sacrifice in taste or texture, making the switch as easy as possible for everyone in the family.

Below is a breakdown explaining the patties in the third BUMP Burger Builder box and some baseline information to help you understand the environmental data. It gets a little complicated but please bear with us.

There are several different types of GHG generated when you produce meat. The easiest to understand is the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is emitted from burning fossil fuels to produce fertilizer, heat buildings, and move equipment and products around. We compare other greenhouse gases to CO2 because it's the one most clearly connected to human activity. It's not the most significant when looking at meat production however. By far the most serious GHG is the methane emitted when cattle fart and burp. One kilogram of methane has the same climate change impact as 30 kilograms of carbon dioxide and there's a lot of it produced while raising cattle. There's also nitrous oxide that escapes from the ground when nitrogen fertilizer is used to produce feed crops like corn or forage grasses. Nitrous oxide has nearly 300 times more climate change impact than carbon dioxide.

Since it's really hard for your average consumer to compare products and processes that emit different types of greenhouse gases, we just convert everything to what the impact is in carbon dioxide. That's what we refer to as carbon dioxide equivalent, or CO2e.

To recap:

- 1 kg of methane contributes to climate change as much as 30 kg of carbon dioxide so we say it has emissions of 30 kg of CO2e.

- 1 kg of nitrous oxide contributes to climate change as much as 300 kg of carbon dioxide so we say it has emissions of 300 kg of CO2e.

Still a little confused? That's ok, this is confusing stuff, and it gets more complicated the more we learn about it. We'll try and give you a simple comparison.

When you burn one litre of gasoline, it emits 2.3 kg of CO2. Producing one ordinary 1/4 lb beef hamburger emits 3.3 kg of CO2e.

So what about our BUMP Burger patties?

Patty 3A has 35% plant protein. It has a GHG emissions profile of approximately 2.53 kg of CO2e, which is 31% less than an ordinary burger.

Patty 3B has 55% plant protein and about 25% more sodium (salt), which is added to help bind he burger together and enhance the beef flavour. It has a GHG emissions profile of approximately 1.87 kg. of CO2e, which is 50% less than an ordinary burger.

One thing to keep in mind when you're tasting these burgers is that while this is the final burger builder box, you're not picking between two options to be the final burger. We intentionally left out both the red beet extract for colour and some of the seasoning that people liked in box two in order to help you focus on the variable we're looking for feedback on. The final BUMP Burger is going to be influences by all of the feedback we received during the process.

As usual, if you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at and I'll be happy to help you. Enjoy your burgers!

- James Battershill

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