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Try it yourself: Does Improved Nature's protein products look and taste like real meat?

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September 14, 2017
By Tim Stevens

September 13, 2017


An unassuming sand-colored building in a nearly deserted parking lot may house the solution to world hunger.

Improved Nature produces what it calls a quality plant protein, but most people would call it a meat alternative. The company, located in a 22,000-square-foot space in Garner, has been shipping its products since July but will celebrate its grand opening Thursday, Sept. 14. The public is invited to attend and taste samples.

Companies all over the world have been trying for decades to make a palatable meatless protein product. But Improved Nature says it has created a way to bind plant protein together to make products that look and taste like meat and also have a similar texture. 

Fibers in the products make it seem like you’re chewing meat, said Rody Hawkins, president and CEO of Improved Nature.


“Meat is muscle fiber,” he said. “We can duplicate those fibers and bind them without gum or starch.”


Dana Hanson, a meat scientist at N.C. State University, said the company’s products “could be light years ahead of what we’ve had. Comparing their product with most other meal alternatives is like talking apples and oranges.”

Hawkins said Improved Nature’s products could help feed the world’s growing population, which is projected to approach 10 billion by 2050.

Five pounds of traditional protein are needed to produce one pound of meat. Improved Nature uses one pound of protein to produce five pounds of a meat alternative.

“They are not making any more land that is arable,” Hawkins said. “In fact, we have less agricultural land each year. And water is going to be a more and more important resource. How are humans going to survive?”

The company’s roots can be traced to Garner’s ConAgra plant, which closed after a fatal explosion in 2009. Improved Nature’s six partners worked there but had moved on to other interests before ConAgra left town.

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article173131641.html#storylink=cpy

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Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article173131641.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article173131641.html#storylink=cpy