Blended Burger Project™ Campus Edition: Sustainability
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Sustainability and The Blend
The mushroom is not only healthy on the plate, it’s also gentle on the planet—according to a new study measuring the water, energy, and carbon emissions required to grow and harvest fresh mushrooms in the United States. Blending mushrooms with meat reduces chefs’ impact on the environment according to The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics 2017 study. The sustainability benefits of blending mushrooms into burgers makes the Blended Burger Project™ integral to the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs which are committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership.
According to The Mushroom Sustainability Story, production of one pound of mushrooms requires only 1.8 gallons of water and 1.0 kilowatt hours of energy, while generating only 0.7 pounds of CO2 equivalent emissions. In addition, the annual average yield of mushrooms is 7.1 pounds per square foot— meaning up to 1 million pounds of mushrooms can be produced on just one acre of land.
One million pounds of mushrooms can grow in the space of just an acre, require minimal water and are ready to harvest in just a matter of days, making them one of the most earth-friendly and renewable crops available.
- Water required to grow mushrooms is just a fraction compared to other foods
- Replacing a portion of meat with mushrooms—The Blend— helps keep CO2 emissions and energy footprint in check
- Mushrooms’ small growing space conserves soil and nets high yields. Each year, mushroom growers are able to produce millions of pounds of mushrooms on just a few acres of land.
- The mushroom industry is the largest recycler of agriculture waste in the food industry
 The Mushroom Sustainability Story: Water, Energy and Climate Environmental Metrics 2017, SureHarvest
Nutrition and The Blend
A sensory study conducted by The CIA and University of California, Davis and published in the Journal of Food Science, shows that most consumers prefer the flavor, texture, spice levels, and salt level of the blend over 100 percent beef.
This proof-of-concept sensory study provides the basis for how mushrooms and meat can combine for healthier alternatives to iconic American dishes. As the study shows, a traditional ground meat recipe prepared with 50 percent mushrooms and 50 percent meat (or even 80 percent mushrooms and 20 percent meat) can:
- Reduce calorie, fat, and sodium intake, while adding nutrients like vitamin D, potassium*, b-vitamins, and antioxidants
- Enhance the overall flavor because of double the impact of umami
- Maintain flavor while reducing sodium intake by 25 percent
For more information download the full study factsheet.