Plant-based burgers now so tasty they deserve to be sold alongside the real thing are not just for vegetarians and vegans, mentions the food writer Aine Carlin
Fake meat. It’s a divisive topic, and one that frequently pits vegans against carnivores– fairly needless devoted it’s just a route of increasing options for the dinner table. It’s not just for vegetarians but anyone wishing to reduce their meat intake given the colossal environmental crisis we find ourselves in.
But regardless of which camp you belong to, it’s going to take a collective effort to undo even some of the damage already done. At the present stage of the 21 st century we should all be aware of the strain livestock production sets on the planet. So it’s a head-scratcher that people are up in arms after Sainsbury’s announced “it wouldve been” stocking a new range of faux meat alongside the real thing.
Are people fretted they will erroneously buys a plant-based burger instead of minced beef? And if so( and it savours just as good ), is that really such a travesty? Or is it a marketing strategy that has already been wildly successful in the US( with Beyond Meat’s pea protein product of the moment) perfectly worth trying here in the UK? After all, what have we got to lose? Well, a lot: in agreement with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation, cattle-breeding is a significant benefactor to greenhouse gas emissions, as well as being a huge exploiter of land and water resources.
Ethan Brown, the chief executive of Beyond Meat, has urged retailers to stock its products in the burger part; sometimes they have even outsold their meaty counterparts, opening up quality plant-based burgers to consumers who normally wouldn’t set foot in the veggie aisle. And with an estimated 22 million flexitarians in the UK, what supermarket wouldn’t want to capture a growing market? Not simply is fake meat good for commerce, it’s vital for countries around the world too. As Brown tells:” Protein is protein .”
Some vegans actually like the taste of meat, and can now get it without devouring animal flesh. There seems to be a strain of thought that says: if you’re veggie or vegan, you are able to stick to veggies that appear and taste like veggies , not ones that have been reconfigured to look like meat products. For these carnivores, it’s particularly troublesome when the texture and appearing is convincing- to move to petitions in the US, and a statute in France to prevent fake meat being labelled as meat.
I would suggest that such alternatives are merely a sign of the times, and instead of battling against them, people should simply accept that our meat alternatives are diversifying, in the same style as our lifestyles are. Many of us no longer want to be burdened by labels but simply desire to tread as softly as we are capable of upon this planet, and regard these products as beneficial to that journey.
Whether brands or industries seem threatened is something they will have to address themselves because- as Tesco’s sell-out vegan-steak scenario demonstrates- the public are speaking with their wallets, sending a clear message that plant-based products are here to bide. Instead of seeks to undermine them, we should be embracing them for our health, the environmental issues and animal welfare.
* Aine Carlin is a vegan food novelist and blogger
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