Last week’s SingularityU Summit, held in Johannesburg, served up a number of interesting speakers who espoused how technology can make a significant difference in the quality of life for people across the globe.

One such speaker was Arturo Elizondo of Clara Foods, who explained how his company is using technology to radically change the future of protein as we know it, as well as address issues surrounding animal cruelty.

Much of Elizondo’s mission stems from one rather concerning statistic – that an estimated one million animals are slaughtered in the United States in order to give people the food they crave, and in particular protein.

Added to this is the roughly third of the world’s arable land being used for livestock, and the thousands of litres of water required to sustain said livestock, as well as produce the associated protein.

Elizondo and Clara Foods wonder if there is a better way of getting that protein though, which has led them to create an egg that does not require a chicken.

Tackling problems with technology

“We shouldn’t look at food at a macro level, but rather the molecular level. An egg white has 40 different proteins and all its proteins are not created equal. We are now looking at what proteins are doing by themselves, mixing and matching proteins to see how they perform,” says Elizondo

“How do we go beyond the egg to create a new kind of food that outperforms its predecessor and is better-designed for the end user? The egg was not made for us – it was created to feed a baby chicken. How can we, Clara Foods, design food that is tailormade for what a human being needs?,” he asks.

As such Clara Foods will be working to get its chicken-less egg to market as soon as possible, aiming to make an impact like some its plant-based counterparts like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods has with its burger-replacement products.

“It’s about shifting the animal protein production paradigm. In 2020 Clara Foods will be bringing the first animal-free egg protein to market,” he concludes.

At the time of writing it remains to be seen where and how much of its chicken-less egg Clara Foods will get into market next year, but it’s clearly a company at the forefront of this new wave approach to food and how we make our efforts in this regard more sustainable.

While Elizondo is not shortlisted for next year’s Summit, we’re hoping he and Clara Foods will have made great strides over the next 12 months.