Breaking Up with Meat

Simple Feast – We Are the World

1985. I was nine years old when Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote We Are the World. The song blasted from the stereo in the hippie-inspired home of my childhood as the adults engaged in heated political discussions and threw their shoes at the television when the pundit said something infuriating. Back when we only had one television channel in Denmark. Back when dad brought us along to demonstrations in front of the Danish Parliament when things needed to change. Back when I lived on a fruit orchard in the countryside and mom was always on the hunt for organic and biodynamic products.

Back then, most people in the world died of hunger because they couldn’t get food on the table. The world was unequal. It still is today, but now most adults don’t die of hunger – they die of unnecessary lifestyle diseases caused by too much of the wrong foods. According to Worldwatch Institute, the consequences of Western food habits constitutes the number one climate challenge – the second biggest, if you ask the United Nations. In 1985, the Third World paid the price alone. Today, in the Western world, we partly pay the price in the form of shorter lives, while the world suffers one climate disaster after another.

We originally founded Simple Feast to inspire people to make more food at home. A meal shared with family or friends may be our most primordial tradition as humans and it’s the most important act for your health throughout your entire life. But we have less and less time to cook. That is why, just before Christmas of last year, we decided to cook for you on the days you don’t have time to do it yourself. We were cautious, even afraid, to go out on a limb. Most of our dishes contained no more than 20% meat, but only one of the four dishes we offered was vegetarian. We thought, “If we can just make a small change, it would be better for our health and our world.” As I said, we were afraid.

We knew what food we should be making. We had read far too much not to know. Books like How Not to Die by Michael Greger and films like Cowspiracy had etched a deep impression in our minds. As had conversations with leading doctors and nutrition experts. Not to mention hundreds of well-documented studies published in the leading international medical journals and climate reports after climate reports.

We knew that a plant-focused diet would turn the tide of most lifestyle diseases plaguing our world, while also reducing the climate footprint of our food by 60 to 80% – depending on the calculation principles. We knew that the production of 1 kilogram of beef use 15,000 liters of water, the equivalent of 250 showers, while the production of 1 kilogram of carrots use about 250 liters of water. We knew that the daily action of moving to a plant-focused diet held the potential to be our generation’s greatest contribution to ourselves and for generations to come.

We are still afraid, but can no longer lie to ourselves. There is no doubt! As of November 1st, we say goodbye to meat and welcome to the flourishing world of plants. Manning the pots are Rasmus Kliim and Anders Vald. They have opened Michelin-starred restaurants in Denmark and abroad, and have headed product development for an array of leading Danish food innovators. And now they can’t wait to unleash a world of flavorful plant-based dishes for all of you. Everyday food in a brand-new way.

We have teamed this dynamic duo with nutrition experts and technology fanatics – in other words, the rest of the team behind Simple Feast. We are food enthusiasts from seven countries, striving in pursuit of a singular mission: Put plants front and center on our collective menu. Simple Feast is driven by the goal of making life better for you, your children, and the planet we all share.

Flavor will be at the heart of everything. Every dish will be 100% organic, free of additives, free of antibiotics, free of preservatives, and packaged in sustainable, biodegradable materials. As we embark on this journey into the wonderful world of plants and flavor, we’ll undoubtedly have some missteps. When we do, we’ll need your help to make us even better with honest feedback, both positive and negative.

There comes a time in every generation when we have to take action. That time is now. Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s message has never been more relevant. We only have one life and one world. This is our battle, our time, our contribution. Let’s do our best, together.

On behalf of the Simple Feast team, from our hearts to yours.

Jakob Jønck
Co-founder and CEO, Simple Feast

PS: A link to a blast from the past, featuring Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner, Billy Joel, Cindy Lauper and the rest of that ludicrously talented gathering in 1985: