Vegan food on the rise in China


This 5 June 2020 video says about itself:

Not Impossible: China’s Vegan Meat Culture Goes Back 1,000 Years

Vegan meat is all the rage these days. Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible all have their version of a fake beef patty. But did you know plant-based meat has been part of Chinese cuisine for over a thousand years?

We went to Lily’s Vegan Pantry, which has been selling traditional Chinese mock meat for 25 years, to learn more about veganism in Chinese cuisine. We also talked to the founder of a Chinese company that specializes in faux pork products to understand how the Asian market differs from the West.

From Reuters news agency, 15 September 2020:

Chinese firms bet on plant-based meat as COVID-19 fuels healthy eating trend

BEIJING: A small but growing coterie of Chinese companies are betting on a bright future for plant-based meat products as consumers take their health more seriously in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though still a niche business compared to China’s giant meat supply chain, vegetarian alternatives to meat are gaining ground following health scares like COVID-19 and African swine fever, analysts and industry insiders said.

US-based Beyond Meat said last week it had signed a deal to open a production facility near Shanghai and earlier this year launched a partnership with Starbucks for its plant-based meat products to be sold by the cafe giant in China.

Beijing-based start-up Zhenmeat, whose products include plant-based meatballs, beef patty, steak, pork loin, crayfish and dumplings, is one of many small Chinese companies entering the market. Its “meatballs” are now available on a trial basis at a Beijing store of Chinese hotpot chain Hope Tree.

“Now after COVID-19 consumers are more concerned about health and restaurant brands are responding to this,” Zhenmeat founder and CEO Vince Lu told Reuters in an interview, adding that sales were “up considerably” since June.

Many curious customers at the Beijing Hope Tree restaurant said the meatballs – made from a base of pea and soy protein – tasted like tofu.

“Actually you can tell that it isn’t meat but the feel of it in your mouth is very similar to beef. And I guess that plant-based meat is a little healthier than beef,” said Audrey Jiang, 30.

China Market Research Group Director Ben Cavender said the key to the future of the plant-based meat market was the taste.

“When we interview consumers the vast majority say they’re open to trying these products once,” he said.

“But the big question is how do they like it? Do they see how they can fit it into their diet on daily basis, whether that’s cooking at home or at restaurants? But if they do like it they’ll keep buying.”

Zhenmeat’s Lu said there was a lot of competition in the market but the real competitor was the meat industry itself.

“The most important thing is that our true competitors are not those global giants who have already achieved great success such as Beyond Meat or Impossible Foods,” he said.

“Our true competitor is the whole livestock sector. It’s the animal protein industry.”

Intact Pleistocene cave bear discovered in Siberia


This 14 September 2020 video says about itself:

Another Ice mummy has been uncovered in Russia. An adult cave bear and cub have been found fully intact with all original organs in the place they were when the critter died!

From the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk in Siberia, by Anna Baisakova:

NEFU scientists to study cave bear found on the Lyakhovsky Islands

First-ever preserved grown up cave bear – even its nose is intact – unearthed on the Arctic island

Separately at least one preserved carcass of a cave bear cub found on the mainland of Yakutia, with scientists hopeful of obtaining its DNA.

More details of the finds are to be announced soon.

Until now only the bones of cave bears have been discovered.

The new finds are of ‘world importance’, according to one of Russia’s leading experts on extinct Ice Age species.

Scientist Lena Grigorieva said of the island discovery of the adult beast: ‘Today this is the first and only find of its kind – a whole bear carcass with soft tissues. ‘It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place including even its nose. «Previously, only skulls and bones were found. This find is of great importance for the whole world».

The remains were found by reindeer herders on the island and the remains will be analysed by scientists at the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU) in Yakutsk, which is at the forefront of research into extinct woolly mammoths and rhinos.

Russian and foreign colleagues will be invited to join the study.

The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) is a prehistoric species or subspecies that lived in Eurasia in the Middle and Late Pleistocene period and became extinct about 15,000 years ago.

Preliminary analysis suggests the bear to be between 22,000 and 39,500 years old.

«It is necessary to carry out radiocarbon analysis to determine the precise age of the bear,» said senior researcher Maxim Cheprasov from the Mammoth Museum laboratory in Yakutsk. The finder transferred the right to research to the scientists of NEFU, he said.

Unique discovery of perfectly preserved extinct cave bear showing its teeth after up to 39,000 years.

Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, or Great Lyakhovsky, is the largest of the Lyakhovsky Islands belonging to the New Siberian Islands archipelago between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea in northern Russia.

A scientific programme for its comprehensive study will be prepared. We will have to study the carcass of a bear using all modern scientific research methods – molecular genetic, cellular, microbiological and others.

«The research is planned on as large a scale as in the study of the famous Malolyakhovsky mammoth,» said Dr Grigorieva, leading researcher of the International Centre for Collective Use of Molecular Paleontology at the NEFU’s Institute of Applied Ecology of the North.

Recent years have seen major discoveries of mammoths, woolly rhinos, Ice Age foal, several puppies and Cave Lion cubs as the permafrost melts in Siberia.

Reference:

The International Center for Collective Use “Molecular Paleontology” was opened in March 2015 on the basis of the laboratory “Mammoth Museum named after P.A. Lazarev” RIAEN as a separate structural unit of the institute. The opening of the ICCU became possible due to the agreement on scientific cooperation on the project “Revival of the mammoth and other fossil animals”, concluded between NEFU and the South Korean Sooam Biotechnological Institute on September 23, 2012. One of the priority areas of cooperation is joint research in the field of studying the genome of ancient animals.