Who just doesn’t love veggie burger made of pea protein? This thing is basically the more sustainable version of ordinary burger, but of course not with less pleasant taste. In fact, because it is more ethical, we can also enjoy it with less burdens in our heart.
With the increasing of popularity, veggie burger is starting to infiltrate burger chains all around the world. However, the whole world might have to wait a little bit longer to make sure veggie burger can dominate the world. Why?
The reason for that is because we are currently facing a threat to the very presence of veggie burgers. The amount of pea, the main ingredient of veggie burger, is decreasing seriously because of the effects of climate change.
Will we ever be able to enjoy the veggie burgers like we used to be ever again? Here, in this article we will talk about it.
Lightlife Foods and Beyond Meat are the two celebrities in serving plant-based meat alternative that most of us know. Both of them keep advancing in innovations because the demands for meat alternative is rising nowadays compared to a decade ago.
They might differ in some parts of their innovations, but there is one similarity that they cannot deny. No matter how different they are in their ingredient list, both of them will always use pea protein as their main ingredient to create the meat alternative.
Pea protein is what you get from extracting ground yellow peas. The peas are dried up to dehydrate them and then ground finely into fine flour. After being mixed with water to remove fiber and starch, the only things left are pure protein and some vitamins.
The result in this stage would be a kind of paste, full of nutrition. The meat alternative industry loves this protein paste, but they need to make it into powder for versality. That’s why, the paste is dried again and ground into finer powder.
This final product is the one kind of protein powder that we often consume every day. This protein powder contains 9 important amino acids that our body needs, and for your information that’s the whole amino acid that our body need from food.
Now, let’s talk about why we might have to face veggie burger shortage in the future. As we talked about earlier, the veggie patties are made of yellow pea flour. Canada and France are two main producers for the legume.
However, both of them were struck by extreme weather recently and this condition threatened the world pea supply. While France had wet weather recently, the opposite condition struck Canada hard since last year.
The worst drought in a century in Canada killed a lot of growing plant and as a result producers suffered from steep decline in production. While the wet year in France happened during the harvest, and it even worsens the already low yield.
French company Roquette told the media that plant protein sector is currently facing an unprecedented situation because of that. The company said that while the availability is challenged, it would lead to price increase which will be burdened to the customers.
The company is processing legumes to produce the protein we talked above and has Beyond Meat as its customer. That’s why they understand that such kind of problem will affect huge part of their industry, as well as global meat alternative consumption.
How Will It Affect Us?
So how will this thing affect us? There is still no specific answer that we can give to that question, because eating veggie burger is not something that everybody needs to do or want every single day like staple foods.
Veggie burger only provides alternative to regular patties for hamburger which is also not a staple food. But the thing with this pea scarcity is that every other product that includes the pea protein powder will be impacted.
Pea protein doesn’t only construct veggie burger, but also a lot of other protein-rich food and beverages. The reason for that is because pea protein tastes smoother, blends well and dissolves very well in liquid, smoothies, and doughs.
The protein drink you got from your fitness advisor is likely pea protein among other kinds of proteins. So, because of what happened in Canada and Europe, if you own such kind of protein drink you will most likely also be affected.
Like Roquette mentioned above, the first impact we all would feel is the rising price. If the problem continues to persist in the future, then the next thing that would happen is scarcity. In that case, we might have to reset everything and start over our protein consumption using other kinds of protein.
Pea Versus Anything Else
Wait, we have other kinds of protein? Of course, we do because pea is not the only source of protein in the nature. But there are reasons why people tend to love pea protein more compared to others. Firstly, is because pea protein contains a lot of amino acids important to our body.
Like mentioned above, pea protein contains 9 important amino acids. But so do rice protein and hemp protein usually obtained from seeds of paddy or hemp plants. The difference is that pea protein contains higher value of important amino acids compared to hemp or rice protein.
Secondly, pea protein tastes better than other kinds of protein. Hemp protein is chalkier and grittier compared to the superior pea protein. While soy protein, even though is also liked by a lot of people, contains allergen unlike pea.
See how more preferable pea protein compared to other proteins? This is one of the examples of how climate change can affect every single aspect of our lives both directly and indirectly. You might never think of how climate change can prevent us to convert into more ethical meals like veggie burgers compared to eating meat burgers.
Center for Climate and Energy Solution stated that climate change is “expected to worsen the frequency, intensity, and impacts of some types of extreme weather events”. Who knows, what other aspects will be affected by the extreme weather events.
That’s why, we need to address the changes as fast as possible so that we can do something before it is too late. Today, it is veggie burger that’s facing the problem. Tomorrow, it can be your favorite pizza or coffee or chocolate or anything else.