Improved Nature – December 4, 2021

Reflecting on the Legacy of the Plant-Based Movement

With today’s full spectrum of plant-based movements (think: vegetarian, veganism, and the ever-rising “flexitarian”) and heightened awareness now more than ever before of the impact of our food choices, it’s fascinating to think of an earlier timeline when the decision to go plant-based first arose in a big way.

While plant-based diets span back into varied cultures for centuries, the first major movement in the United States goes farther back than most of us think. In the 1970s, a mid-twenties new mother began to question how and why we humans eat the way we do. She explored what repercussions follow our choices as consumers – turns out, it was far greater than most Americans realized. So, new findings in hand, researcher and author Frances Moore Lappé published Diet for a Small Planet: How to Enjoy a Rich Protein Harvest by Getting off the Top of the Food Chain. At twenty-six, her captivation with all the elements effected by our diets sparked a revolution that inspired many others to follow suit. In her book, she argued in favor of the merits of plant-based eating, touting its ability to save both people and the world we live in.

The impact of the book’s release would have been impossible to predict; but indeed, it was a soaring success. Diet for a Small Planet became the first major book to shed light on the meat industry. Surely, Lappé reasoned, there is a less wasteful, more sustainable, and healthier method to feed people, one that doesn’t contribute to global food scarcity, but rather, lessens it. Many Americans, inspired by the book’s appeal to eat more consciously, opted for more plant-based diets in the name of “environmental vegetarianism,” or those who ditch meat for an eco-friendlier lifestyle. As if sensing the crisis we’d face in decades to follow, Lappé’s pleas for more responsible eating challenged Americans for the first time to consider the effects their dietary choices would have on the planet, and the lasting impact they would leave.

To celebrate the book’s legacy, a 50-year anniversary edition released in September of this year, today known as “the book that started a revolution in the way Americans eat.” Lappé dives even deeper in this new edition, showing us how the simple solution of plant-centered eating can help restore our damaged ecology, address the mounting climate crisis, and move us toward real democracy – all areas of concern more relevant today than ever before, following the harrowing discoveries regarding the future of the planet, at this fall’s 2021 UN climate change conference, COP26 — hailed as a “last chance” to save the planet.

While longtime limitations to plant-based living previously kept it out of reach for many people – among them, social and financial barriers – a rising awareness of this gap has begun to change that. Advocacy groups have sniffed out this disparity, and new options have begun to reflect the need to expand access across socio-economic levels. Budget-friendly retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart now offer numerous meat-free meal options.

Today, the options, awareness, and proponents for plant-based living, even on a “part-time” basis, are at their all-time highest and most widely available. Plant-based demand – both from consumers, restaurants, and supermarkets – has been steadily growing over the past decade. The Economist declared 2019, for example, the “Year of the Vegan”. A Tastewise report showed that meat substitutes present a $14 billion opportunity. Additionally – an implied result of COVID-19 – plant-based meat is appearing on foodservice menus at an astonishing 1,320 percent higher rate than before the pandemic.

Also furthering these efforts to make plant-based choices more accessible to more people is Improved Nature. When Dr. Rody Hawkins, a meat scientist and inventor of the famous LUNCHABLES products, left his career expanding success for major meat companies like Oscar Meyer, he had a vision for a new way to feed people. “There’s got to be another way,” he says of his unusual career shift.

So, in 2015, he and several of his former meat industry co-workers recognized the need for new quality protein sources, and set out to discover a sustainable and nutritious way to feed the rapidly growing population. Together, they launched Improved Nature, a company that developed and uses an innovative and proprietary process to turn non-GMO soy protein into food fibers that replicate the comforting texture of meat.

Whether you’re a consumer considering cutting back on meat consumption as a New Year’s resolution, or a business looking to expand your meatless menu options, our new products can help you achieve your goals. Nature’s PRIME is a complete protein with meat-like texture and neutral flavor that can easily replace chicken, beef, or pork. Available in 11 familiar shapes and sizes, it’s versatility delivered – and makes lowering one’s meat consumption an easily attainable lifestyle choice for all.


  1. “What is a COP?”
  2. “Changing Diets during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Improved Nature. FAQs.

A One-Ingredient, Plant-Based Solution

Improved Nature offers options for consumers and businesses looking to conveniently replace meat with a high-quality alternative protein. Our Nature’s PRIME® 100% plant-based protein products are available in diverse size and shape options that include nuggets, slices, shreds, tenders, and more. Our all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO products consist of just one ingredient: soy protein. Nature’s PRIME is non-GMO Project Verified with neutral flavor and meat-like texture. It is a solid choice for whole food plant-based options because of nutrition, versatility and minimal processing.

You can see all of our products and purchase them by visiting To discuss how to integrate plant-based ingredients into your business offerings or menus, send a message to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.