You get used to answering a lot of “why” questions as the parent of a toddler. Why do I have to go to bed now? Why isn’t Papa coming over to play today? Why did you go outside? Why did you come inside? The list goes on.
It’s the same as an entrepreneur.
Why did we name our product Bump? Why aren’t you making hotdogs yet? Why did you pick pea protein instead of soy protein? Why can’t I buy your Jamaican patties in packs of 100? The list goes on.
The most common question I’m asked by far is why we use both plant and animal protein in Bump Blended Meat products.
To answer that question, you need to understand a problem that we're trying to solve called the Protein Paradox, across the world people are eating more meat protein, and that’s both very good and very bad.
Something really amazing has been happening for the past thirty years. Quality of life has been improving for many people around the world. Better education and access to opportunities has resulted in household incomes rising. And when households start earning more, one of the first purchasing changes they make it to buy more protein, specifically more meat.
You see this play out very clearly in countries like China, where meat consumption per person has doubled since 1990. During that period, beef consumption grew by more than 400%!
For people who previously had very low amounts of quality protein in their diets, this increase can have a positive impact on overall health.
So, increased meat consumption can be both related to and a cause of improving quality of life for people in many parts of the world. Great! So, what’s the negative side of this Protein Paradox exactly?
The problem is that when people eat more meat, we have to make more of it. And we already make a lot. Meat is very resource intensive to produce. It already requires 80% of the world's agricultural land. It’s also associated with 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Because of rising incomes and population growth, we're going to need to make almost 40% more meat by 2050. With our agricultural resources already strained, we're worried that growing demand is going to push the planet over the edge.
We don’t believe than animal agriculture is inherently bad. There are lots of places where livestock production can play an important part in the ecosystem. As a general rule though, it takes a lot more resources to produce protein using animals than plants. And those resources are becoming more scarce.
That's why we blend ordinary meat with plant protein. It allows us to make delicious meat products, but with a lower overall environmental impact and using fewer resources. That's our approach to solving the Protein Paradox.
Now that we know that cutting back on ordinary meat can be good for the planet, we need to explain why we blend plant and animal protein instead of making 100% plant-based meat like some other companies are doing. That question requires a three-part answer.
Taste. Sorry to our friends in California who are making decent plant-based patties, Bump Burgers still taste better. It’s tough to beat the flavour you get from beef fat, and since that’s the only kind we use for our burgers and ground, they win the taste test hands down. This is especially important for winning over committed carnivores who are only begrudgingly trying plant-based meat for the first time.
Price. Because we can make Bump Blended Meat at conventional processing facilities, we produce at commercial scale without needing to invest millions of dollars in new buildings and equipment. No new investments means we can keep prices lower.
Consumers. Better taste at a lower price means Bump will appeal to more people. We’re betting that we can win over three times as many consumers as our fully plant-based competition, leading to a greater total environmental benefit.
Phew! You made it to the end of a long and somewhat complicated blog post. Hopefully you have a better understanding of our company mission. But you still might be asking why did I, James, decide to start down this path?
The answer is at the top of the post. I started my company when we found out that Catherine was pregnant with George. Not an ideal time to leave a good paying job and start a new venture, but we did it anyway. The realities of climate change and resource limitations make me nervous for the future, but I know that there's still hope. The world is full of people who, like Catherine and me, want nothing more than to give the next generation a better future.
If you've made it this far I suspect you might also share those values and are taking your own steps to make the world a better place. Thank you, for everything you're doing, and for making us a part of your efforts.