A recent post in Refinery29 (“a modern woman’s destination for how to live a stylish, well-rounded life”) says “grilling up a good time doesn’t have to mean meat-based burgers for all. In fact, these days there are a lot of meatless burger alternatives on the market. From veggie and plant protein patties to quinoa and bean-based, non-meat eaters have plenty of options when it comes to grilling out.” Their reporter found that some people looked for trad veggie burgers, while others want burgers to taste as much like real meat as possible.
Meat substitutes are certainly having a moment in the sun. Writing for the New York Times, Timothy Egan says “fake meat will save us.”
PR like that is an agency’s dream come true says ConscienHealth’s Ted Kyle. So, it’s no wonder that Beyond Meat was “going bananas” with a 550 percent surge in its stock price after a very successful IPO. Its rival, Impossible Foods, can’t keep up with demand for its Impossible Burger. That’s good news for farmers who can’t sell their soybeans – a typical plant-based protein source. Suddenly, pea protein is hot. Prices for this humble legume are rising, even though soybean prices are depressed. The biggest meat processor in the U.S., Tyson Foods, is jumping in to build a billion-dollar brand with half-pea, half-beef burgers. Kellogg is supposedly sitting on a goldmine with its Morningstar Farms brand for fake meat.
Kyle asks if PR spin is tapping into foodie moralism to make this highly processed food seem like a healthy choice? Yes, indeed, he says. We need to move toward a more sustainable diet that won’t destroy the planet he says. Fake burgers, though? It’s unlikely they’ll give us a healthier diet. Maybe it’s time to remind ourselves of Michael Pollan’s top tip: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” By food Pollan means fruit, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, seafood, poultry and meat and to avoid what he calls “edible food-like substances.”