The word “Spero” can be translated as “to hope” or “to believe, desire or trust.” In line with this, Spero Foods is a plant-based company that seeks to make egg and dairy alternatives that rival the cost, taste and nutritional qualities of animal-based products. They aim to do this utilizing clean, simple and affordable ingredients, especially sunflower and pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
How and why was Spero Foods founded?
Spero Foods was founded by Phäedra Randolph (commonly known as Phäedra) in 2016. Randolph has a background in data analysis and worked as a software engineer at Facebook, prior to founding the company. For many years, Randolph embraced a plant-based diet, both for health reasons and to benefit the planet. She started Spero Foods because she understood the challenges of finding affordable, healthy alternatives to eggs and dairy firsthand.
Randolph believes it is crucial for the planet, our health and our collective future to adopt plant-based diets. Unfortunately, the plant-based food industry is still quite confined. Plant-based products are pricey and the industry relies heavily on very few ingredients like almonds, soy and cashews. By removing barriers to accessing plant-based foods, we can all benefit from healthy food that is sustainable for us and the world we live in. In the long term, plant-based foods can boost human health, limit the excessive loss of vital natural resources, prevent ecosystem degradation and result in less carbon expelled into the atmosphere as a result of agricultural practices.
What makes Spero Foods’ products different?
The plant-based foods industry primarily tends to rely on soy, almonds and cashews for its products. However, for Spero foods, Randolph chose to utilize seeds and legumes. This is because these pantry staples are rich in nutrients, high in protein and fiber, contain healthy fats, are extremely beneficial to our health and have light ecological footprints. The processes used to prepare the products maximize nutrition and flavor and are cost-effective. This way, all the Spero Foods products are rich in nutrients and are more accessible, given their affordable price range.
Spero’s Sunflower Cheese is made from sunflower seeds and is an alternative to traditional cream cheese. It comes in seven different flavors, including smoked salmon, strawberry and chipotle. In fact, the line even features plant-based goat cheese! The primary ingredients used to make the main “cream cheese” base are sunflower seeds, water, coconut oil, salt and spices and probiotic cultures. Spero’s cream cheese alternatives contain no additives and are much more environmentally friendly compared to other nut-based and dairy alternatives, all without sacrificing flavor.
Spero has its own pumpkin seed (pepita)-based egg alternative, called Pepita Egg, that rivals others on the market. It consists of seven ingredients: water, pepitas, salt, garlic powder, mushroom extract, beta carotene for color and nisin as a preservative. It has six grams of protein per serving, which is up to double that of other egg alternatives. Aside from being plant-based, it is also keto and allergy-friendly.
How sustainable is Spero Foods?
Spero Foods takes into account the harmful practices of the agricultural industry and aim to do better. They focus on three primary areas to ensure that their food products put minimal strain on the planet and its resources. These are water use, land use and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Contemporary farming methods and climate change cause severe droughts and water pollution. Agricultural irrigation alone accounts for 70% of the world’s freshwater usage. In fact, the diet of the average American uses approximately 1,320 gallons of water per day to produce.
Spero Foods intentionally chooses simple ingredients that utilize very little freshwater for production. For example, sunflower seeds are one of the company’s main ingredients for their cheese. Compared to nuts, sunflower seeds use 96% less water to produce! Similarly, Spero’s Pepita egg alternative utilizes 87.6% less water than conventional egg production. This way, there is more freshwater to sustain plants, animals and humans worldwide.
Trees are a key part of local ecosystems. They serve as habitats for animals, provide food for humans and other species, produce oxygen for us to breathe and sequester significant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. Despite all this, estimates show that 15 billion trees are cut down each year. Clearcutting has resulted in immense habitat and biodiversity loss in ecosystems around the world. In fact, in the past 50 years alone, over 17% of the Amazon rainforest has been deforested. The primary purpose of this devastating practice is to support agriculture.
Similar to their intentional freshwater usage, Spero Foods is very cautious about its land use. The sunflowers grown to produce sunflower seeds use 97% less land than cashews. Meanwhile, Pepita Egg uses 86.6% less land than typical egg production. By opting for ingredients that use minimal land, Spero prevents harm to local habitats and biodiversity.
The agriculture industry contributes almost 10% of all greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. By choosing simple ingredients like sunflower seeds and pepitas, Spero slashes the amount of CO2 emissions that typical dairy and egg production would emit. For example, Spero’s the production of Spero’s Sunflower Cheese emits 99% less carbon dioxide and methane than dairy-based alternatives. Similarly, Pepita Egg production releases 99.4% less CO2 than conventional egg production.
What health benefits do these alternatives have?
Spero’s meticulous ingredient choices allow consumers to reap immense benefits from plant-based sources.
Nutritious plant-based cheese
Spero’s Sunflower Cheese is very high in plant-based protein. Each serving has three grams of protein, which boost energy and helps repair muscle tissue, especially after strenuous exercise. The cheese is also rich in antioxidants, which protect against disease, free radicals and even cancer! Furthermore, the cheese has a variety of vitamins and minerals to improve overall well-being. These include (but are not limited to) various B vitamins for healthy organs, magnesium to boost immunity and the nervous system and zinc for healing and protection from infections.
Pepita Egg also has incredible nutritious value. Similar to the Sunflower Cheese, it is high in protein, which is an excellent fuel to start the day. It also is high in zinc, which supports overall well-being, immunity and healing. Finally, it is rich in iron, which supports growth and development by regulating the function of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
Spero Food’s products are affordable plant-based alternatives to typical dairy and egg products. Besides their budget-friendly costs, they are environmentally friendly and highly nutritious.
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