Our dietary choices have a significant environmental impact, with agriculture accounting for almost 30 percent of worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this episode of the Xtalks Food Podcast, Sydney talks about the top 10 worst foods for the environment, starting with beef. Raising cattle for beef is highly resource-intensive, requiring significant amounts of land, water and energy. Next to beef, but with a lesser impact, is dark chocolate. The significant emissions from dark chocolate primarily result from land use changes, like deforestation, which disrupt the balance of GHG emissions and lower the Earth’s ability to absorb CO2. Third is lamb and mutton, which generates more emissions than an equivalent amount of beef, but they are not widely consumed in the US. Beef (dairy), coffee, farmed shrimp, cheese, farmed fish, pork and poultry round out the rest of the list. The team is surprised that dark chocolate and coffee are in the top five but aren’t surprised by beef and if its derivatives occupying three spots on the list.
Also in this episode, Sydney talks about TIME Magazine’s best food inventions of 2023. The magazine spotlighted 200 groundbreaking inventions, 13 of which were related to the food industry. The list includes the ChefDoodler, an innovative pen that extrudes sugar in a three-dimensional form, allowing users to craft edible objects, similar to a glue gun but with candy instead; The Luna UCR avocado, the culmination of a multi-decade breeding program at the University of California, Riverside; the Nama J2 Cold Press Juicer, which allows users to insert large chunks or entire fruits for juice production, eliminating the need for slicing; and The Sweet Garleek, a unique vegetable is a hybrid of garlic and leek, developed by chef Dan Barber’s Row 7 Seed Company, among others. The team is impressed by the vast array of inventions spanning various sectors of the food industry and discuss which inventions would be most useful to them.
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