Engineering sustainable food with plant-based proteins

Maddi Johnson has short brown hair and fair skin, she sits cross legged in green grass holding a plate with a plant-based burger on it.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States entered a meat shortage. By the end of 2020, countrywide retail sales of plant-based foods had increased by 27 percent, the Good Food Institute and the Plant Based Foods Association reported. BBE student Maddi Johnson took notice. 

Johnson, who is majoring in bioproducts and biosystems engineering, is a vegetarian and has been eating plant-based products for the past four years. But it wasn’t until the novel coronavirus hit that the BBE senior realized she could make a career out of the food she’d been consuming. 

“It was really cool that we saw such a huge rise in plant-based products during the pandemic,” said Johnson, a recipient of CSE’s Frank Louk Scholarship. “And the technology behind it is also something I’m really interested in, like fermentation. It’s connected to what I’m learning about in my major, so I decided to look more into it.”

Continue to the full article published on CSE.