Enter companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. It doesn't seem like a week goes by where I'm not reading a story about huge investment in sustainable plant protein. The redirection of our resources will save inconceivable amounts of water being consumed by "food animals" and the crops that are grown for their consumption. Should industrial animal farming fall out of favour our planet can divert crop land to food crops, return land to natural space, save water and produce less waste in the form of animal manure. This doesn't even address the fact that we would stop raising millions of animals simply to send them to a slaughterhouse for a torturous end to life.
All of these notions however do little to convince the general population. Most people eat with little thought to the consequences for their health, the environment or animal welfare. The sneaky thing about Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger is that they taste, cook and have the texture of real meat. On their tails are a push for "clean meat" which is actually lab grown real meat without raising or killing actual animals. These products have the promise of providing people that refuse to give up meat with a viable substitute.
Recently I heard that a local pub was selling Beyond Meat burgers. Since I haven't tasted one yet I decided to go give it a try. I don't miss the taste of meat, don't crave it or have the idea that meat is a required component of the human diet. But I am a curious person. Once served, the burger looked exactly like what you'd expect from pub fare. A burger, steak cut fries and a modest green salad. The burger had vegan cheese on it with the usual ketchup and mustard. I fully admit that some flavours are rather foggy in my mind. I'm uncertain if I remember what meat tastes like, but this burger tasted exactly how I recall. It was charbroiled and the texture was that of the ground beef patty. Unsure, I asked the server in the pub if he thought it tasted like meat. An omnivore himself he commented that it seemed to him "exactly" like the real thing but that he felt better about it as it was "healthier."
Let's be honest. This plate was full of fried food and the blackened patty wasn't winning any health awards. With that in mind though we do skip the total fat content of a burger made from cows, and the IGF-1 treadmill production which is a health positive outcome. Would this be something I'd include in my diet on a regular basis? No. This product isn't marketed at me though. For those though that really feel the need for meat and for vegetarians that miss meat flavour this is an excellent product. I sincerely believe if I sat down a half dozen omnivores to this burger without telling them they wouldn't know the difference.
The future of meat is here. In all of its forms, meat substitutes are getting more popular, lower in price and more attractive for everyone including meat eaters. If you have some spare dollars you may want to consider some investments. Even meat producers are seeing the future after all.