Transcript: Podship Earth Episode 52: FEEDING FRENZY
JARED BLUMENFELD: Welcome to Podship Earth. This is your host Jared Blumenfeld. I don’t do well in crowds. Maybe it's the result of my childhood where I seemed to lose my mom in department stores on a monthly basis, or maybe it's because I just get overwhelmed by all the noise. Either way, I've always been fascinated by the idea of going to the world's largest natural products expo, but thus far I've been too afraid to actually take the plunge. Luckily, this week, cousin David and Podship Earth South African correspondent Dana Smirin agreed to travel to the shadow of Disney's Matterhorn in Anaheim, California, to go where I could not - the Natural Products Expo. What began in 1981 as a crunchy granola taste off is now more than 90,000 people from 136 countries trying to sell their organic and natural foods to an ever growing market segment of conscious consumers. Today, more than 30% of US homes now purchase organic food on a weekly basis. The big trends at this year’s Natural Food Expo are plant based everything, the promise of regenerative agriculture, CBDs and hemp innovation and something I'd never heard of called ketogenic diets, which consist of eating very low carbs and high fat foods. Well David and Dana are on the convention floor. What's it like?
DAVID KAHN: I can tell you it is an actual zoo. I just walked the floor for about an hour, and I've already walked a mile and a half. Somebody told me there's going to be 800,000 people here over the next couple of days. And the guy who told me was from Vermont. He said that's more people than the entire state of Vermont that are going to be in this small area.
DANA SMIRIN: No natural daylight, Idaho, just fluorescent lights, carpet, miles and miles of people bumping into each other, trying to grab free samples.
DAVID KAHN: In case you've been to a large convention like Comi-con or something like that, it's bigger than that, just so you have an idea of like how many people are actually here. Like it's crazy. Are you excited to interview some people?
DANA SMIRIN: Yes.
DAVID KAHN: Let's go check this place out.
DANA SMIRIN: Alright.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Our intrepid team of adventurers start by heading to the section of the expo focused on making food serviceware out of plants. Dana meets up with Anush Agarwal and Cush Marga Pathic with Detox, the company making plates out of palm leaves.
DANA SMIRIN: This is amazing to walk up to this table after seeing just sea and sea of plastic single use plastic and look at natural fiber.
ANUSH AGARWAL: So, these plates, we make these from palm leaves, and they are totally natural biodegradable. And the cool thing is no trees get hurt in making these plates because we make them from leaves that are already fallen down on the ground.
DANA SMIRIN: And these are pretty thick leaves.
CUSH MARGA PATHIC: These leaves, they're like kind of broad and they are dried in the sun and washed. And then we shape them by pressing them with heat and then cut them into the shapes off the plates.
DANA SMIRIN: So, no chemicals are used?
ANUSH AGARWAL: No chemicals, no resins, no coating, nothing.
DAVID KAHN: So why did you start this company?
CUSH MARGA PATHIC: We are both from India so growing up we grew up with a lot of products that were like this. So, we wanted to introduce these to the western world. That was one. Two is, the area in India where these grow is very poor. Villagers are very poor, and they have this awesome natural resource that if we use it well and we market it to the world, we can actually give back to that community and do something good for those people.
DAVID KAHN: How do you like being at this event? There's like so many people. There are multiple floors. There are how many football fields?
DANA SMIRIN: A hundred football fields. I got the number right.
ANUSH AGARWAL: This is amazing. This event is just awesome.
DAVID KAHN: Wow, that's good to hear.
DANA SMIRIN: So, who's coming by?
CUSH MARGA PATHIC: Oh, actually all kinds of people we are getting lot of interest from. You know, people who have their own restaurant.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Next, cousin David, as he's bound to, bumps into an old friend Darren who is a superfood hunter and author of the book Super Life: The Five Forces That Will Make You Healthy, Fit and Eternally Awesome. Darren recently brought Brazil's barukas nut to global attention because of its super food properties. David starts by asking Darren how he got started.
DARREN OLIEN: I've been super food hunting for 15 plus years. I'm a blue-collar person at heart. That's where superfood hunting came. And then when you really realize and you meet indigenous families and farmers from around the world, this preciousness of that connection and what they can do and then get out some incredible medicinal plants and botanicals that people can really utilize in this day and age that we're getting stressed out about that. That's the genesis of what superfood hunting came from.
DAVID KAHN: How do you participate in what's happening here?
DARREN OLIEN: I mean obviously what we really love, we really love a direct connection to people. So, if people want to buy it online, they certainly can do that. We have now brokers coming up to us and wanting to distribute and the expression people give is fantastic because they immediately go is, “a nut I haven't heard of?” And it's very interesting when you get presented with something A, you don't know about, and B, when you taste it, there's no barrier to entry. Meaning it tastes so good. And that was what got my attention the first time. Right? So it tastes kind of like a peanut. And then we did all the nutritional analysis on it and it was superior than any nut we have ever seen. So that got my attention. And when we traveled to Brazil and we saw that this biome, this savannah was being affected severely by cattle grazing and farming and unsustainable practices, you'd go and see this beautiful biome, but then you'd see the in your face destruction. If we provide an economy, then we can support this very precious baruzeiro tree, and then create value back to the indigenous people instead of it being taken over by this unsustainable practice. So, that's what we got really excited about because now at checked a taste box and now it checked a nutritional box and then it checked a fair trade working directly with over 10,000 families around the Cerrado. And then there are also checked a massive box of an environmental protective plant that we want to help preserve.
DAVID KAHN: And what is super food hunting?
DARREN OLIEN: Well, it came upon me in terms of the desire to really understand foods, botanicals, herbs, nuts, seeds, when I was starting to investigate them. So, it wasn't good enough for me coming from Minnesota and a father that was an agricultural professor, it wasn't good enough for me just to learn about something. It was better that I would go and meet the farmers, meet the collectors. So, it was really an innocent journey of heading to the Amazons, heading to the mountain tops of the Himalayas and everything in between. And then when they taste it, they're like, wow, this is actually really good. So, they're like doubly surprised. They don't know about it and it tastes so good. And then when we tell them the whole story, they're just like, wow, this is really doubling your dollar. So, coming here and seeing the expressions is just like worth it right there. And so we're open, we're open to moving the message forward and also really doing a capitalism that's worth doing for everyone in the supply chain and in the environment. And we need that more than ever. And it's kind of insane to me that businesses don't put that work in because it's not a marketing story you need to spin. You just need to do the work and tell the real story, and that's what our team is committed to. And it makes me super proud of being a part of something like that. I have in my hand where the nut comes from and there's actually a fruit layer on the outside. So, we've discovered that you can shave that off, dehydrate it, put that back with the roasted nut and it becomes an alchemical delicious coming together of the fruit and the nut. And so, we made a trail mix out of that. So that's the first stop. We've also added a brilliant sea salt to it. We're looking into the butters. We'll give you a sample. We have some sample nut butters as well.
DAVID KAHN: Love nut butter.
DARREN OLIEN: So, well we'll let you get into that. And then of course the list keeps going with chocolates and things like that.
DANA SMIRIN: And I'm looking at a picture of a gorgeous valley with mountains and evidently, your range of trees. Are these like the acai berry trees where two will only grow wild harvested or are you actually conventionally planting these in rows charts a little bit how they grow, right?
DARREN OLIEN: Yes. Great question. So, the acai comes from more of the jungle like area. This is the savanna and the savanna can look wild. It certainly is, but this is very much wild collected. And when you have a landmass the size of three states of Texas, that is an infrastructure that's very difficult to do and butwe're extremely proud of it. Because number one, you don't get access to wild food anymore in this day and age. And to be able to scale something so that many people can reap the benefits and many people who are gathering the fruit with us can reap the benefits of having consistent income. And again, it's something we're super stoked about. So, wild food distributing out to millions is our goal while we're planting millions of trees.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Wow, that really made me want to try a baruka nut. Next, Dana discovers a fellow South African who has traveled from the Kalahari desert with their unique salt. I just discovered pink Himalayan salt, so I'm intrigued to find out about its African sister. Dana talks with Samantha from Oryx.
SAMANTHA SKYRING: I had a beautiful product called Oryx desert salt and it's from the remote pristine Kalahari desert of South Africa. It actually tastes like real salt. It is a very full and gentle flavor. It's like a fine wine. It comes with a very beautiful taste profile because the source is so beautiful. The salt pan is a 5,000 hick test salt pan just at the very north of South Africa and they discovered underground a 55 million ton salt lake. And this underground salt lake is fed by underground rivers that flow through rock shards of 250 million years old. So, the source of it is absolutely pure and polluted and it picks up all the vital minerals and trace elements. 95% of all salt produced in the world is actually for industry and only 5% is food grade. So, what they tend to do is take industrial salts and put it in a product and call it salt table salt. It has also got a whole of other additives. So, this is an unrefined, unprocessed sun-dried and filled with all the minerals and trace elements.
DAVID KAHN: Is that healthier for you?
SAMANTHA SKYRING: The body knows what to do. It's the body sees it as a whole food. Whereas sodium chloride with chemicals, the body actually doesn't know what to do with it. It does make the food taste salty and picks up the flavor, but the body doesn't actually relate or respond to it.
DAVID KAHN: So why did you decide to come to Los Angeles all the way from South Africa for this trade event?
SAMANTHA SKYRING: Behind selling salt is also reminding people of the importance of an unrefined, unprocessed salt, which I know Himalayan salt has done an incredible job creating awareness that salt's not just salt. Unfortunately, the Himalayan isn't a renewable sustainable source.
DAVID KAHN: What do you think of being here with all these people in the events? What's your take on it? The whole situation.
SAMANTHA SKYRING: It's quite overwhelming. I travelled 25 hours in a plane to be here and share the information. And I really love sharing the story. So, and just to let you know, the reason it's called the Oryx, is I did a beautiful 75 mile, seven day walk through the Nomad Desert and I had close encounters with the Oryx, and apparently they can go their whole lives without drinking water, but they can't go months without drinking salt or licking salt. So, they hair is hydroscopic and they absorb the moisture and in the dew in the desert at night and succulent swell in the evenings with the moisture so they get the hydration from the succulents. And I only found that out after I've chosen this logo of the Oryx Gazelle as the logo for the product.
DANA SMIRIN: Tell me something. Who lives in this desert human wise?
SAMANTHA SKYRING: This particular area, it's fairly uninhabitable because there's no fresh water. There’s a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the closest town. So, it's a very sparse region in the world.
DANA SMIRIN: The Kalahari Bushmen and there's popular movie about the Kalahari Bushmen.
SAMANTHA SKYRING: Monthly, we donate back to the Sand Bushmen who are one of the original tribes.
DANA SMIRIN: Fantastic. And can you tell me why is there salt out in a desert so far from the ocean?
SAMANTHA SKYRING: Yeah, I guess it's, it's a bit like gold and platinum near these veins and it just happens to be a region that is very rich in sodium chloride and it leaches up from under the earth on to and creates the salt pans. Our pan seems to just where it's situated. It's a very white, pure salt can and then they discovered this underground Salt Lake. So, it's one of the beautiful natural phenomenons on the planet.
DANA SMIRIN: What's your take home from looking at just the volume of choice here are coming from South Africa? I mean it's, it's beautiful to see what's available, what the new innovation is. All the various types of products that are being produced now days.
JARED BLUMENFELD: As you know, I'm not a fan of disposable plastic straws, so I was glad that David and Dana somehow navigated the chaos to find Cindy Sladics and her daughter Chanel. Prior to founding the glass jar company, Simply Straws, Cindy was a dental hygienist for 31 years. Simply straws is also a B corporation.
CINDY SLADICS: So, I just went home one day and talked to my daughter and she's an environmentalist and she goes, oh mom, you have no idea. Straws are really bad. And this is years ago before anyone started talking about straws and I was like, really? And then we started researching it and found out that there were like 500 million plastic straws every day used in United States. And that's really horrific. You know why are we using plastic? We used to have actually paper, we used to have glass straws way back in the 50’s. My husband said, hey, I think I can make a really good straw. We decided it would be glass because it's the purest form of material you could use. There's nothing, you know, stainless steel, you still have something leaching from, silicone. You still have some problems with those things. He made them in the garage. It's really important for the environment because there's just no way to get rid of those plastic straws. And once you drink out of a glass straw, you won't want to drink out of anything else.
DAVID KAHN: So, you started it at home in the garage. So how do you make a glass straw?
CINDY SLADICS: It's been a real bonding experience for the family too. If someone breaks it, we will replace it because we believe that much in the straw. This is my daughter's Chanel behind us.
DANA SMIRIN: So why did you decide to become a B Corp?
CHANEL SLADICS: I mean, really, the DNA of our company is to be a force for good through a product. You know, it's conscious consumerism. We believe that conscious consumerism is the only future to save our planet. Like Patagonia says, they're in business to save the planet. I think the more corporate values that really make that a part of the DNA of their business, the more we really have a chance to succeed at that. It would be naive to think that we won't have corporations and our future. And that we go back to only being artists and businesses. I believe there's a lot of benefits to corporate streamlining. What I love about it, I call us a baby B, because we're a much smaller company. I was just at the summit in Taos, New Mexico two weeks ago where they were really looking at how can we use the B Corporation family to be stewards for this climate change activism that needs to be a focal point for all businesses. But especially for the ones that are awake to the problems. So, like the Dr. Bronners, the Ben & Jerry's, Seventh Generation, all these different CEO’s and sustainability departments got together and literally had sticky notes all over the walls, different ideas, different ways until they came together with some common vision points. 1% of our gross sales goes towards these environmental nonprofits that we're working with. And that helps us with our B Corp certification.
DAVID KAHN: So, why did you start this business with your mom?
CHANEL SLADICS: Basically, she was getting arthritis in her hands and she couldn't do dental hygiene anymore, which was pretty heartbreaking for her. But she wanted to stay in the dental field. And she came up with this idea is a product for her patients to stay connected to them. She gave me the idea, I did a little research and was like, oh my gosh, 500 million plastic straws a day in the US alone. I'm like, this is insane. Nobody's talking about this. I would love to talk about this and at least just start some conversations around it and see if we can get some people to convert into this utensil option. So, I said, I'll do it with you if you want. And I thought that just meant like build you a website and take some photos, and here we are like six or seven years later still at it. And now with all the straw bans, it's such a fun time and now you're seeing these bans everywhere. People are just scared of it at first because it looks breakable. But we have a lifetime guarantee because we were like seriously, do not be scared. What person will give you a new cup if you break your glass cup? You know it is glass, it is breakable but it's very, very durable. I prefer the glass so I can see through and validate that it's clean. We have our own cleaning brushes for those that leave their dried smoothie. I travel with mine about 10 months out of the year. I don't even bring a cleaning brush because I just suck water through it when I'm done with my smoothies.
DAVID KAHN: When I came here today, I thought we were going to talk to you a bunch of like companies that made food and instead we're talking to like a lot of companies around the food industry that have really innovative products that are B Corps and it's awesome.
CHANEL SLADICS: Awesome. Well thank you for coming by. We appreciate you connecting with our product.
DAVID KAHN: Yeah, thank you guys.
CHANEL SLADICS: Stop sucking people.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Dana and David had been around food all day but hadn't actually eaten anything. So, before they get hangry, it's time for some nourishment.
DANA SMIRIN: What do you feel David? You are about to eat fake meat.
DAVID KAHN: I'm a huge meat eater. It's been an issue of some shame because I know that the amount of land that's required to feed the cattle and I know it's not good for you and I feel bad. So, I'm kind of excited to eat this to see if it's another opportunity or an option for me in my diet where I can eat something that I'm familiar with texture wise, flavor-wise, and I know that it's not harming the environment and hopefully there's no GMO’s in it and I won't feel shame about what I'm eating honestly.
DANA SMIRIN: That sucks to feel shame about what you're eating.
DAVID KAHN: No, it definitely does. I mean look, coming to this whole event, we haven't had an opportunity to taste how much stuff because we've been running around and it's the biggest thing I've ever been to in terms of like one of these corporate expos. It's just so massive. Like to go from one place to another takes you 15 minutes or 10 minutes. I haven't eaten yet today, so I'm doubly excited because I'm really, I eat quickly, but I'm going to probably inhale this food. I think this is part of a NASA science experiment. I could be wrong. I thought NASA developed some of this so that they could send people on really long trips. But we'll ask somebody.
DANA SMIRIN: David just took his first bite of a Beyond Meat. His eyes are really big right now. David, tell us how those tastes.
DAVID KAHN: Nobody could tell me that wasn't meat.
DANA SMIRIN: Sweet.
DAVID KAHN: I mean, I could, I could swear that that was meat.
DANA SMIRIN: All right. I think I might dive in. Wow. It's like minced. It's real mince.
DAVID KAHN: No, right. I mean it's a brown and it looks, I know. It's ridiculous.
DANA SMIRIN: What the heck is this made out of?
DAVID KAHN: I honestly think that this whole thing started from some NASA scientists being like, somebody is going to go to space for six months.
DANA SMIRIN: I would put like cumin, coriander and spice it up, but that's because I'm from South Africa, but that tastes meaty. What is this made out of?
JARED BLUMENFELD: To find out the answer, Dana and David meet up with Alison Aronoff with Beyond Meat.
ALISON ARONOFF: It's made using a blend of pea, fava bean and brown rice protein. We use coconut oil for fats and beet juice for some of that meaty red hue. There's no gluten, no soy, no GMO’s, no antibiotics, no hormones, no cholesterol.
DAVID KAHN: How did they make this? Like is this grown? Is this from a NASA experiment? Somebody told me like NASA helped create this. Where did this come from?
ALISON ARONOFF: Yeah, I love that story. I'm not going to fact correct that story. So, we have a really dedicated team of scientists and researchers and developers that work in our lab in Los Angeles. And basically, we start at a fundamental question, do you need an animal to build a piece of meat? And we feel that there's two ways to define meat: origin, cow, chicken or pig or composition. If you look at meat, it's protein, fat, trace minerals, and predominantly water, all of which can be sourced outside the animal and used to more efficiently and humanely produce a piece of meat. So, we're rebuilding meat from the ground up and we're doing so while still delivering on the taste, the texture, the sensory experience, but it's better for you. It's better for the planet. It's a win, win. It's like, why wouldn't you choose that?
DAVID KAHN: What's the main thing that you use in there to make it feel so authentic? Like I'm eating it, I'm looking at it. It looks like meat. It tastes like meat.
ALISON ARONOFF: So, it starts with the protein. So, the blend of pea, fava beans and rice; we’re getting a really fibrous and chewy texture which mimics meat. And we run that through our proprietary process of heating, cooling, and pressure, which basically realigns the proteins and braids them together with the fat in the same structure of meat. There’s a lot of science in food. We don't think about it. But if you look at meat under a microscope, the fats and the proteins, the way they're interwoven, we then mimic that, and what you get in your mouth is then that same chew, that bite, that juiciness, that pops of fat and soft and then more grizzly pieces. So, we really are using the science and the lab and applying it in the kitchen. Anything that you make ground beef you can use Beyond Beef for. Beyond Beef will be rolling out in retail and food service later in 2019. But you currently find Beyond Meat products at more than 35,000 grocery stores and restaurants. We're now in over 20 countries. So, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, UAE, South Africa. The reception globally has just been tremendous. You know, people want to continue to eat meat, they love to eat meat. We're not telling you not to eat meat. We’re just giving you a better form of meat, which is plant-based meat. Research says around 70% of people are reducing their meat consumption and around 66% are doing it more than they did a year ago. And a lot of people, you know, they love meat, but again, maybe their doctor said you need to reduce your red meat consumption. Or they're thinking about, you know, the future generations and they're looking at climate change. And so, people are increasingly pulling away from red and processed meat. This kind of is a win, win situation. Have your burger and eat it too.
DAVID KAHN: I don't want to cut you off, but it's time for the sliders. I grew up eating hamburgers. That's probably one of my favorite foods. So, oh yeah. I've eaten a lot of hamburgers in my day. The texture is grilled just like a hamburger. It's got a nice crunchy exterior. It tastes like a hamburger. Tastes like something that I've eaten like many times.
ALISON ARONOFF: This has more protein than a beef burger. It has 25% less saturated fat. It has no cholesterol. It's like a win, win.
DANA SMIREN: And how does the price compare?
ALISON ARONOFF: So, we're still on par with a more premium beef, maybe a grass-fed or organic. But our goal is to drop the price as quickly as possible and eventually, to underprice beef. And the only reason we can't at this point is because the supply chain is not mature enough. We are going after the 95% of consumers that eat meat and to introduce them to the idea of plant-based meat is already a little bit outside their comfort zone. And we felt that the use of GMOs was just a step too far and we didn't want to have that hurdle.
DANA SMIREN: How are you supporting agriculture in general?
ALISON ARONOFF: Can we shift the crop growing in the US? And instead of growing corn, soy, and wheat to be fed into the mouths of livestock, which then get produced to be meat, can we grow pulse crops, peas, et cetera for human consumption? And if you can grow crops for human consumption instead of animal consumption, there's a good opportunity for money to be made. On the flip side of that, the University of Michigan completed a lifecycle analysis, which looks at all of the inputs to make a beef burger from growth of crops to shelf. And then they did the same thing for the Beyond Burger and they found that the Beyond Burger uses 93% less land. So, if you had a farmer that a hundred acres and he was growing crops, he could create the same amount of burgers in seven acres for us as he does in 93 acres for beef. And so, when you unlock 93 acres.
DAVID KAHN: It's just crazy.
ALISON ARONOFF: When you unlock 93 acres, what could he do with that? He can do anything he wants. He could grow more crops.
DAVID KAHN: Not to mention, his yields are way down because he's been using a bunch of really crappy chemicals for the last 20 to 30, 40 years.
ALISON ARONOFF: Yeah.
JARED BLUMENFELD: I'm so impressed with Donna and David. I would have lasted about an hour at the expo and they're still going eight hours in. How are they feeling?
DAVID KAHN: I'm just exhausted. I just think when there's so many people, sometimes I just get fatigued. Plus, when you're like trying to move in and out, I feel like a salmon trying to go upstream, like it's fatiguing.
DANA SMIREN: Grand Central at 5:00 PM on a Wednesday night.
DAVID KAHN: Exactly. I just looked at my phone. I did three and a half miles walking today just here. Just walking around from booth to booth. I mean I didn't go crazy, but I did sample a few things. I enjoyed it. I just liked seeing that there's such a large community of people that care about creating innovative, healthy. I think they're healthy, but I don't know because I don't really interpret the data as much as you or Jared or somebody else. But it seems like a lot of people are putting a lot of effort into creating new products, new foods, more sustainable products.
DANA SMIREN: Just asking people about organic and whether their products contained organic materials. Some of these larger companies saying, well, there's not enough organic supply when I really think that if you're manufacturing you have an obligation to go downstream in your supply chain and help those farmers transition towards organic so that if you've got a healthy plant based version of something for people's health, well it shouldn't be grown with bunch of pesticides and chemicals. So, I was a bit concerned but I was really, really psyched to see so many B Corporations. I thought it was funny, the one lady that we talked to from one of those companies saying, natural doesn't mean anything. Like if you see natural whatever, we're natural everything, natural just has got no definition. I thought that was kind of funny. I cannot believe how big this show has become. The last time I came was 15 years ago.
DAVID KAHN: Yeah.
DANA SMIREN: This is insane. They said it was a hundred football fields long.
DAVID KAHN: I mean everywhere we looked it was just like crowds. I mean it was just so many people.
DANA SMIREN: Well, and then you had like the supplements section and then you had the food bar section and then you had the CBDs everywhere and in everything and nutratropics, which is I guess brain supplements, so was 3,600 vendors and 700 of those are new people. So, the marketplace is growing.
DAVID KAHN: Good for them.
DANA SMIREN: Yeah.
DAVID KAHN: I hope they make money and I hope they continue to make positive strides towards creating more sustainable, healthier environmentally and healthier for our bodies products. And I think, you know, if they can be successful financially, they will.
DANA SMIREN: I feel exhausted and trashed and really stimulated.
DAVID KAHN: Thank you for coming down here all the way from South Africa and experiencing this with me.
DANA SMIREN: Yeah, absolutely. Let's go find some daylight because I haven't seen any today.
JARED BLUMENFELD: Talking of daylight, a huge thank you to cousin David and Dana Smiren for exposing us to the world of the natural products expo without having to actually go to the windless convention center ourselves. That really is the beauty of podcasts. I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed by just listening to their excellent reporting. Also, a big thank you to all the folks that spent time talking with our dynamic duo. Big and small companies are realizing that consumers care about the health, environmental, and social impacts of food, and that if they miss out on this movement, there'll be losing money. So, the good news is that there's a massive push into the natural food space. However, unlike labels like “organic”, which requires edification, “natural foods” could mean anything. So, as the movement continues to grow, it will be critical to put some thought and energy into making sure “natural” actually mean something tangible. I was thrilled that David's love of eating hamburgers can now be satiated without having to eat meat. If that isn't a breakthrough, I don't know what is. In the next episode of Podship Earth, we examine the importance of pollinators. In the US, $15 billion worth of crops up pollinated with bees, including apples, berries, cantaloupes, cucumbers, alfalfa, and almonds. And pollination helps at least 60% of our wild plants thrive. From bee colony collapse disorder to an 86% decline in western monarch butterflies in California in 2017 alone, we explore what can be done to reverse these frightening trends. Thank you so much for being part of the Podship Earth journey. From the entire Podship Earth crew, sound engineer Rob Speight, executive producer and food correspondent, David Kahn, and a special thanks to Dana Smiren, our South Africa correspondent for her excellent reporting from Anaheim, and from me, Jared Blumenfeld, have a great week of healthy snacking.