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What’s For Dinner? How Our Diets Have Changed Over The Generations

· food,vegan,beyond meat,agriculture,Economics

In the 1950s, the average American and average British citizen only had meat based dinners twice a month. This was due to a lack of food availability, rationing of food in the previous WWI and WWII eras, and the changing patterns in farming in the United States and Great Britain.

Modern animal farming practices pump chickens with hormones and antibiotics in order to make them larger with a shorter life cycle for mass consumption.

Beginning from the 1960s to the 1970s, as factory farming practices were being developed and implemented in the United States, advertising of meat consumption changed from biweekly meals on special occasions, to everyday meals. Hence, the physiques of the population also changed with the changing diets pushed by the agricultural industries.

Julia Child’s American TV Programme, The French Chef (1963-1973) changed the perception of handling meat in the US. At the time, the handling of meat was often done by chefs or cooks employed in households, but because the majority of Americans no longer employed cooks in their homes, many women and housewives were not accustomed to handling meat and preferred not to do it, hence the lack of meat consumption in the household. However, Julia Child’s programme desensitised the population from looking at and handling the carcasses of animals for consumption, just as the factory farming of animals was taking off in the US.

However, both the US and UK are leading the change from the factory farming of animals as a major part of its economic output, to the production of plant based protein products. With the hugely successful IPO of Beyond Meat ($BYND) which produces plant based products, many other companies, investors and startups are following suit in transitioning from an animal meat consumptive based population to a plant based protein consumptive population.

Beyond Meat’s masculine product design style with a focus on protein has been popular with consumers, as perception shifted from plant based meats as “mock or fake meat” to “healthy, plant protein” based meats.

Beyond Meat is currently at 89.35 at closing May 17, 2019, up 357.4% from its open price of $25

It has been 9 years since world leaders met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, when major corporations agreed to shift from animal farming to supporting alternative, plant based products. As more companies and restaurants pop up with alternatives to animal products, and as the population consumes more plant-based products, I extrapolate that it will probably be in the early 2050s when production of animal based products is eradicated altogether as we move towards a meatless, vegan society.

Ducks are force fed with a tube several times a day in order to fatten up their livers in order to produce foie gras. Foie gras is considered a culinary delicacy made from duck livers. It has been banned again in California in 2019. California Supreme Courts upheld the ruling to ban foie gras from being sold across the state. This ruling could set a precedent to ban other cruel practices in animal farming that could result in the complete ban of the consumption of meat based products by 2050.

The changing landscape of food production and diet are inevitably tied in with our agricultural practices. In the early part of the 1900s, food shortage, malnutrition, lack of clean water and related diseases were common. As industrial farming practices have dominated the global landscape in the last 50 years, and as we think of the environmental impact of food production, in which 25% of all freshwater is utilised to produce food which only ends up in landfills and the amount of energy and resources that are utilised for the factory farming of animals, profitable companies, such as Beyond Meat are leading the way towards a more ecologically conscious world.

Diet For A Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé, 1971. One of Steve Jobs’ favourite books, he read the book at university which he said inspired him to become vegan.

For many of us, we grew up with animal meat and it simply tastes good, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t also enjoy plant-based alternatives, because if we examine the entire picture, from the way animals are raised to how they are butchered, it is not simply about the enjoyment of food, but the practices we embody that determine who we are, and how that piece of meat came to be placed on our plate; and even if beautifully presented, it is advisable for us to simply ignore the dreadful and appalling practices behind animal farming? We learn where we come from through our parents and our families, shouldn't we also teach ourselves where our food comes from?

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