Croquette craze

Growing cow or pig cells in the lab to produce beef or pork is not the only revolutionary alternative to conventional meat production.

Physicist Lisa Dyson’s California-based startup can revolutionize the still nascent meat-cloning industry that has yet to scale up and become a significant supplier of affordable meat.

Dyson’s technique is based on a technology of the United States space agency intended for feeding astronauts in space. It combines microbes with carbon dioxide breathed out by astronauts, nitrogen and oxygen inside a fermentation tank. The process, similar to yogurt or cheese fermentation, creates proteins that are harvested, dried, and made into a flour, CNN reported.

The flour is then used to produce a steak substitute by adding flavorings and nutrients, according to CNN.

Dyson said the product called Air Meat can address global warming and food security as it can capture CO2 from the atmosphere to make a meat substitute.

Alternative meat faces tough competition from traditional beef and pork though. To become widely accepted by consumers, meat from air or its clones should be as gratifying as premium Kobe beef that only comes from cows bred in western Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture.

In fact, one Kobe beef store selling frozen croquette version of the meat continues to get orders of the delicacy online even if buyers have to wait very long for its delivery.

The Takasago City store run by the Asahiya family makes probably the best croquette in Japan. But more than its taste, the high demand for its deep-fried potato and beef dumplings called Extreme Croquettes is driven by its price.

Asahiya owner Shigeru Nitta priced a box of Extreme Croquettes containing 10 pieces of frozen dumplings at only 540 yen per piece when it should be more than that because of the A5-ranked Kobe beef ingredient. The deficit is recovered as the promo price encourages half of orderers to buy their main product: Kobe beef.

Nitta said they are now delivering boxes of Extreme Croquettes that were ordered 10 years ago. For new orders, buyers will have to wait 30 years to receive them.

For those who don’t have the patience to wait that long, they can instead order Asahiya’s Premier Kobe Beef Croquettes, which have a delivery wait-time of only four years, according to CNN

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