Beyond

Published in Meat & Co no. 4 2019

YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT MORE AND MORE OF MY COLUMNS DEAL WITH FOOD EXPERIENCES DURING HOLIDAYS IN FARAWAY AND NOT SO FARAWAY COUNTRIES. OF COURSE WITH CO2
COMPENSATION, IN CONNECTION WITH FLIGHT SHAME. YOUR OBSERVATION THAT THIS GERT-JAN VAN KESTEREN HAS PLENTY OF TIME FOR HOLIDAYS IS THEREFORE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. I AM INDEED WINDING DOWN MY CONSULTANCY WORK IN ORDER TO RETIRE PERMANENTLY ON 1 JANUARY 2020.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The gradual withdrawal is, to be honest, going better than expected. Apparently I'm not as addicted to my work as many clients thought. I'm getting the hang of letting go, not worrying too much about the past or the future. The knowledge that Condor Consultancy is in good hands with my colleagues helps, of course.

Also above expectations was my recent experience in Germany. What do you do when you turn 65 and have passed the retirement age? Right, you finally take that ultimate old-fashioned trip along the Rhine and Moselle. The pleasure of schnitzels hanging well over the plate with an abundance of chanterelles was nipped in the bud because, during the first part of the trip, I hung out with two pleasant vegetarians. Yes, they can be very pleasant company too. The annoying thing was that I suffered from meat shame. But oh, how delicious the vegetarian Beyond Burgertm in the restaurant tasted. Beyond expectation!

Of course, I had read that the share price of Beyond Meat had exploded immediately after its launch, but the many bad experiences with fake meat made me sceptical.
Barely back from holiday, the alarming IPCC report on global warming appeared, which will eventually endanger the food supply. The media mainly focused on the harmful effects of meat (read: cattle breeding).

As far as the media's rather one-sided fixation on meat is concerned, I have long since passed the astonishment stage. It was the same with the issue of antibiotic resistance. Of course, restricting the use of antibiotics in animal husbandry is important and we should be pleased with the significant reduction that has been achieved. However, this does not alter the fact that the use of antibiotics in humans, not in animals, is responsible for the development of resistance to more than 95%.
Less meat production is 'beyond controversy' better for the environment. But it is not for nothing that the IPCC says priority should be given to reducing emissions from transport, energy supply and industry.

Within the total food supply chain, food waste is a major culprit. Food waste (measured from farm to consumer) accounts for 8-10% of the total global carbon footprint.
If we in the industrialised West were to stop eating meat altogether, our personal carbon footprint would be reduced by an average of 4%. The greatest sustainability gains for us Westerners can therefore be achieved in other areas. However, that is no reason to skip the steak on a regular basis, especially since the vegetable alternatives are tasting better and better.

Gert Jan van Kesteren