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  • It's the annual eating of the herring in Finland.

  • For one week in October,

  • people come here to downtown Helsinki

  • to gorge on the freshest of fish,

  • and other delicious, smoky treats.

  • They jockey for position, prepare Instagram posts,

  • and enjoy some Tolkien-inspired folk.

  • As you may have heard, life is good for the Finns.

  • Their kids are smarter than yours.

  • Their health system is healthier than yours.

  • And my God, their parks are parkier than yours.

  • These Finns also eat really well.

  • On a square plate, there's some molt fed,

  • lightly smoked pork and wild garlic emulsion on top.

  • On our round plate, beetroot marshmallow.

  • Here I am at your run-of-the-mill fast, casual joint.

  • Popping some bubbly, and gobbling up a ham and cheese roll.

  • Followed by a NASA-inspired marshmallow made out of beets.

  • That is good.

  • That's crazy.

  • But the future of food for Finland

  • and the rest of the world may be here,

  • where protein is grown in a vat,

  • overseen by the Finnish version of Walter White.

  • This is Solar Foods, with its headquarters in Espoo

  • on the outskirts of Helsinki.

  • We make food out of thin air

  • using just electricity, water, CO2, and some minerals

  • as the main ingredients.

  • Have you ever seen Breaking Bad?

  • Yeah. Yeah?

  • Is there anything else we should know

  • that happens in here?

  • This is pretty legal.

  • Okay .

  • Until the pivot to full-blown meth lab is needed,

  • Solar Foods is focusing on making protein

  • and other nutrients with as little water

  • and other resources as possible.

  • No cows, no soy fields, just bacteria being fed in a tub

  • by nature, and harvested by lab coat-wearing laborers.

  • In a sense what we are making is an ingredient

  • for different food products.

  • So tofu, yogurts, breakfast bars,

  • or any meal that one could think of.

  • Solar Foods grabs CO2 from the fresh, Finnish air

  • and hydrogen, produced via solar panels,

  • and uses this fuel to feed a microorganism

  • discovered by scientists in Finnish soil.

  • The bacteria is then fed a cocktail of water

  • and a secret blend of elements

  • such as iron, sulfur, and calcium.

  • This slurry of goodness is then dried

  • to produce a powder that's 65% protein

  • with a few fatty acids and carbs making up the rest.

  • This is the end product, this yellowish powder.

  • Protein powder.

  • And then this is just the liquid form of that.

  • And how long does the drying process take?

  • It takes about a day to dry one kilo.

  • Solar Foods calls this stuff Solein powder.

  • Is it vetted by the FDA yet?

  • No.

  • Is it safe for consumption?

  • I'm told yes.

  • And since I'm the guinea pig for a technology show,

  • my gut is your gut.

  • This is my personal vegan pancake recipe.

  • It's like the regular ingredients

  • for pancakes, pretty much, except--

  • Yeah, yeah, except we're replacing

  • eggs with Solein powder.

  • That's the magic moment.

  • All right, here goes our batter.

  • Oh yeah, you're a pro.

  • Do you wanna try it first? I'll try it.

  • This is like the pancake of the future.

  • I've never eaten pancakes grown in a laboratory before.

  • It's a delicious pancake.

  • Those dudes may cook a mean protein powder,

  • but the true star of the Finnish healthier food movement

  • is this woman, Maija Itkonen,

  • the co-founder and CEO of Gold & Green.

  • Gold & Green makes a vegetable-based

  • meat replacement called Pulled Oats.

  • Everyone I met in Finland eats it.

  • It's in the grocery stores in a variety of flavors,

  • and you can even get it at Taco Bell

  • inside the vegan burrito.

  • It's a thing.

  • A brown, chunky thing.

  • Maija and I met in a former Nokia cable factory,

  • where else, to try out some Pulled Oats.

  • You're not trying to mimic meat necessarily at all, right?

  • You're just trying to make something

  • that's sort of delicious, that's made from oats.

  • That's exactly true,

  • and it might be that the final application is mimicking,

  • because when you make a burger,

  • it needs to be something that feels like a burger.

  • But what actually doesn't mimic

  • is the ingredient list.

  • The ingredient list, we actually want to make sure

  • that you have few things

  • and they're really healthy and really clean label,

  • and everything is based on that.

  • What are the big advantages of oats?

  • Because it's not meat, or, I mean, why oats?

  • It's nutritional.

  • It's like, marvelous.

  • It has so good health benefits for your heart

  • and digestion and blood sugar.

  • It's like medicine, you know.

  • Okay. Thanks so much.

  • It's like a curry?

  • It's delicious, I mean I would eat this

  • any day of the week.

  • So, when we got started,

  • we didn't even plan to sell in Finland.

  • This was like two years ago or?

  • This was 2016.

  • But we thought, let's just aim to test it

  • in couple of grocery stores.

  • Then it was so funny, because what happened

  • was that people got entirely crazy.

  • All the newspapers started to call us

  • and all the buyers started to call us,

  • so it was like, okay we're going to sell this in Finland.

  • And actually the market grew like 700% during that year.

  • Unlike just about every other company in Finland,

  • Gold & Green's headquarters

  • are not in a former Nokia building.

  • They're in a former bra factory.

  • And its elevator is real and spectacular.

  • This is where Pulled Oats come to life.

  • So these are the basic ingredients?

  • Yeah, so actually this is oat flour.

  • Then we have a fava bean flour.

  • Then we also have a yellow pea, pea protein,

  • but that's about it.

  • Okay, and then the magic,

  • the secret is how you blend this all together?

  • Absolutely, yes.

  • So we first make a dry material base of these ingredients.

  • Okay. Then we start moisturizing

  • and baking it, and it becomes something like this.

  • Like this, okay.

  • So this, so all this stuff-- You can taste it,

  • yes absolutely. This goes through

  • like a machine, and the machine and the process,

  • that's all top secret. Top Secret.

  • Nobody gets to see that.

  • But I am allowed to see this.

  • A brand new venture for Gold & Green.

  • And it's sizzling, salty, and porkish.

  • It's something that can be made to replace like chicken

  • or even like-- I know what we're doing,

  • we're doing bacon.

  • And this is not a bacon.

  • Maija refuses to call it bacon,

  • but it's pretty much bacon.

  • And it might even be good.

  • I mean, that's delicious.

  • It's got all the nice, salty, fatty kind of feel to it.

  • Yeah, yeah.

  • I like this a lot.

  • And now, thanks to a brave volunteer from Gold & Green,

  • a better living through Finland Interlude

  • that will come as quite the shock

  • to my American friends.

  • I present to you a baby,

  • a mother, and a baby box.

  • This is something that the government sends

  • to every mother.

  • Yes, or you can choose.

  • You maybe don't want this, and you can take the money.

  • So