Top Aussie scientists team with takeaway giant to make meat-free burgers

Australia’s national science agency has teamed up with a fast food restaurant to develop a plant-based alternative to beef hamburgers.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Hungry Jack’s, a franchisee of U.S. chain Burger King, have joined forces make and market a legume-based burger patty under a joint venture named v2food.

The burger aims to mimic the taste and texture of beef with the added benefits of fiber and nutrients as well as being environmentally friendly.

According to research by the George Institute for Global Health the sales of meat-free burger products in Australia grew by 289 percent between 2010 and 2019.

The CSIRO projects that Australia’s plant-based protein industry will be worth more than 6 billion Australian dollars (4 U.S. billion dollars) by 2030.

However, Hungry Jack’s owner Jack Cowin said that the industry should not be considered an enemy of the beef industry.

“We sell 30,000 tonnes of meat and we hope to be able to continue to sell the same amount of beef as we always have,” he said recently, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

“We will attract a different audience that aren’t currently buying products because of sustainability reasons.”

Nick Hazell, the chief executive of v2food, said that the venture was born out of necessity because of the global increase in meat consumption.

“The population is growing towards 10 billion and meat consumption is also growing per capita. When you do the maths, it’s actually impossible for us to feed the planet,” he said.

However, the assumption that “fake meat” is healthier than the real thing, is warned against by Curtin University nutrition and public health researcher Christina Pollard.

“The problem is that often these products are not healthier than the meat-based original, because they are still heavily processed and high in fat and salt,” Pollard said.