San Francisco-based entrepreneur Sri Artham recently launched Hooray Foods, a startup working to develop plant-based versions of pork products, starting with hyper-realistic bacon. Artham was inspired to create vegan bacon as a way to tackle the environmentally damaging effects of the pork industry—which is the second largest agricultural source of greenhouse gases in the United States after the cattle industry. Artham pitched his company to investors during the recent 2019 Good Food Conference in San Francisco hosted by nonprofit Good Food Institute. “When the Camp Fire hit here in California in November last year, for three days you couldn’t walk outside in San Francisco. There was just too much smog in the air,” Artham said. “That’s the moment that made me switch from social issues in our food system to environmental.” In February, Artham—who previously developed a technology startup to help farmworkers and promoted ethical foods at Fair Trade USA—began tinkering with ingredients in his home kitchen to create vegan bacon and, after receiving positive feedback from a seasoned chef, launched Hooray Foods at several Bay Area restaurants. Artham has been able to ditch beef with the help of products such as the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger and wanted to create a similar alternative to bacon. “Compared to hamburgers, where I think the best plant-based burgers are really close to a real beef burger, bacon still has some room to grow between the best plant-based bacon and, if you really want to get a meat-eater to switch, where we need to be.” In the coming months, Artham plans to increase his manufacturing capacity to expand distribution of Hooray vegan bacon to more foodservice providers. Artham also plans to use his process to create other cuts of pork—including ham, deli meats, and sausages—to offer vegan alternatives to “the whole hog.”
Photo Credit: Hooray Foods
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