For several years now, we’ve been able to go to grocery stores or restaurants and buy all sorts of products made from plants in imitation of products from animals. Burgers. Chicken. Sausages. Bacon. Now another product is being added to the list, and it’s even more unexpected than fake meat; you could even call it downright bizarre. Companies are working on—and already selling—plant-based fat. Yes, fat.
San Francisco-based Lypid initially launched in Taiwan. The company was founded by two Taiwanese entrepreneurs who met while completing PhDs at Cornell University. Plant-based burgers made with Lypid’s vegan fat are sold at a Taiwanese national chain of cafes. Last month the company announced the launch of its first product available in the US market: plant-based pork belly.
The pork belly is made with Lypid’s PhytoFat, a vegan fat meant to mimic the taste and texture of animal fat. It’s created using vegetable oils and water, but the key is what the company calls “microencapsulation” technology. This means they designed a coating for the oils that gives them a much higher melting point. Much like a vitamin, whose solid outer shell dissolves once it hits your stomach, little nuggets of oil are encased in a capsule that’s resistant to heat up to a certain temperature.
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