Are Dehydrated Snacks the Way forward for Meals Sustainability?


Photo of Eat The Change Mushroom Jerky

Dehydrated meals are nothing new. From instantaneous espresso to powdered milk, dry meals play an necessary function in our meals system. And for those who’ve ever eaten a field of raisins, a slice of fruit leather-based, or a packet of seaweed, you’ve had a dehydrated snack. Why, then, is there such a rising motion of shelf-stable dried snacks claiming to be saving the planet with their practices?

As somebody who based a dehydrated meals model, I’m no stranger to the advantages of dehydrated meals, which vary from prolonged shelf life to concentrated flavors. However I’ve been stunned by what number of new manufacturers are leveraging the declare. As we proceed to see the affect of our climate-destroying selections, it’s pure that shifting focus to meals that contain a decreased want for assets is rising in reputation. There’s even a diet-based identification known as climatarianism, during which followers purpose to decide on meals with as minimal carbon emissions as potential.

I wished to know if these dehydrated snack producers are actually on to one thing or in the event that they’re simply enjoying up the apparent proven fact that dried meals weigh much less and, in flip, require much less gas to be shipped. So, I did some analysis and spoke with the co-founder and CEO of the mushroom jerky model Eat the Change, Seth Goldman. Forward, uncover what I realized.

The Water Issue

It shouldn’t be dismissed the decreased water content material of dried meals alone makes them extra sustainable than many different snacks. By eradicating water from an ingredient, you make it a lot lighter in weight. Which means if you transport it, fewer assets are wanted, and in flip, the carbon footprint is decrease. The meals is lighter, for one, but it surely takes up much less house, too. Due to that, you possibly can ship way more of one thing in the identical quantity of house than you could possibly with a contemporary equal. Nevertheless, there are extra the reason why dehydrated meals could also be a greater and extra sustainable snacking selection.


Extra Accessible Pricing

In terms of grass-fed beef, “low cost” shouldn’t be the primary world to roll off anybody’s lips. Grass-fed animals require extra land to graze on as a result of they aren’t fed grain and obtain fewer antibiotics. In flip, their meat is extra sustainable, in addition to more healthy, providing extra important vitamins like omega-3 and conjugated linoleic acid than grain-fed cows can. To purchase a grass-fed steak, you possibly can anticipate to shell out wherever from ten to thirty {dollars} on the grocery retailer, relying on the minimize you select.

By drying grass-fed beef and packaging it in small, shelf-stable baggage, the well being advantages of this nutrient-dense meat will be had at a fraction of the price. Although jerkies are nonetheless pricey when damaged down by the pound, they’re obtainable in smaller increments than contemporary meat might ever be and dried in a way that makes them satisfying with a smaller serving. Prevail Jerky says that regardless that their jerkies are freed from preservatives, they “will be saved exterior the fridge for months and even a yr with out it going unhealthy so long as it’s in a sealed bundle.”

These small and reasonably priced snacks, that are loads large on taste and protein, are additionally conveniently moveable. For instance, Werner Jerky makes a line of meat stands proud of their grass-fed beef that, at about six {dollars} for a five-ounce bundle, is simple to take wherever.

Nutrient-Dense Elements

Grass-fed beef has a variety of well being advantages, however not everybody eats meat. The rise in plant-based dehydrated snacks is aligned with the elevated reputation in meat analogs, vegan eating places, and produce-centric meal supply kits.

Keho savory snack bars, that are full of greens and are concurrently gluten-free, vegan, and keto, give shoppers who desire a change from candy protein bars a extra meal-like different with none added sweeteners. They’re a straightforward technique to get your vegetable wants glad on the go and could also be extra satiating than a granola bar attributable to their extra advanced style.

Supernola, who makes oat-free superfood clusters, packs their snacks with antioxidants and adaptogens, utilizing components like sprouted nuts, goji berries, and uncooked cacao. Additionally they donate a portion of Supernola’s proceeds to Ladies on the Run, a volunteer-based program that builds social, bodily, and emotional expertise for third to eighth graders. At lower than three {dollars} a serving, their bites are a healthful and socially aware different to granola bars.

Eat The Change, which makes mushroom jerkies, has turned sustainable snacking into a very scrumptious trigger. I used to be blown away by the richness and meaty high quality of their plant-based jerkies, which I discovered way more interesting than any soy or seitan ones I’ve tried. “Mushrooms function an unbelievable clean canvas, with the power to welcome all flavors and textures,” Goldman tells me of their selection to make use of mushrooms as a base for jerky. “Our marinated and hickory wooden smoked mushroom jerky is made with natural portobello and crimini mushrooms, one of the crucial sustainably grown crops.” He notes that there are quite a few the reason why mushrooms are sustainable, corresponding to the very fact their progress medium is meals waste, they are often vertically grown (10 layers in a single constructing), and there may be little or no water wasted of their cultivation.

Meals Waste Discount

It wasn’t till the debut of manufacturers like Imperfect Meals that many individuals grew to become conscious of how a lot meals is grown then by no means eaten. Grocery shops promote solely the produce gadgets which can be essentially the most visually interesting, and the remaining is left for processing. Nevertheless, there are nonetheless leftover gadgets that do not get used.

“The most important environmental footprint of meals is meals waste,” Goldman says. “The estimates are that roughly 20-30% of all meals grown goes to waste, which implies all of the water, land, and assets used to develop produce is wasted.” Manufacturers like Eat The Change are decreasing meals waste by extending the shelf lifetime of produce as dehydrating meals lengthen their shelf life from one to 2 weeks to 12 months. He additionally notes that by selecting to make use of smoking as a pure preservative (a way that dates again to the paleolithic period), their merchandise don’t require any chemical preservatives.

Moreover, snack meals like fruit leather-based and jerky style simply nearly as good when made with much less fairly produce that may in any other case be discarded. Goldman says that their mushroom jerky is made with “completely imperfect mushrooms,” together with outsized and normally discarded stems as a result of they’re scrumptious and simply as nutritious—an act that additionally reduces meals waste. The results of these mushrooms being mixed with wooden smoking offers “the proper texture for a meat different” that’s nutrient-rich in addition to extremely sustainable.

Remaining Ideas

A mix of things makes dehydrated snacks a sustainable possibility that, if adopted by extra shoppers, can have a constructive affect on the way forward for meals sustainability. Between the lighter and smaller nature of dried meals, how they enhance the accessibility of pricey components, and the way a lot they reduce meals waste, dehydrated snacks are a sound selection environmentally. To not point out, they are often as tasty and nutritious as different snacks, if no more so.


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