The backlash to plant-based meat, when you look at it closely, is a backlash against our food system in general, mistakenly directed at one of the more promising efforts to make it a little bit better.
KELSEY PIPER: ‘When the Impossible Burger launched quietly in upscale restaurants a few years ago, the coverage was mostly positive, with some reviewers even calling it the future of meat. Now, Impossible products have hit Qdoba, Burger King, and supermarkets. Another plant-based meat company, Beyond Meat, is featured in Carl’s Jr, Subway, and now McDonald’s. It’s a sign that the new wave of meatless meat is approaching mainstream status — an encouraging development if you care about changing our meat-centric food system.
But if the emergence of meatless meat a few years ago was hailed unanimously as a good thing, the response to its mainstreaming has been tinged with skepticism. The adoption of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat products by fast-food chains hasn’t exactly been welcomed in some quarters, even among those you would think would be more supportive of this development. Call it the backlash against the fast rise of meatless meat.
For instance, the CEO of Whole Foods and the CEO of Chipotle both criticized Beyond and Impossible products, calling them too highly processed… Meanwhile, numerous articles have questioned the health impacts of the products. To be sure, the new plant-based burgers have gotten a lot of positive coverage, too — and some pragmatic reviews more focused on describing their taste (pretty meaty, though some reviewers insist they can still tell the difference). But this is a nascent industry, and any pushback can have an impact…
Plant-based meat has the potential to be great for the world. It can end factory farming, be more sustainable, address global warming, and offer a way to feed a growing middle class its favorite foods without destroying the planet along the way. As it matures as an industry, its offerings can get cheaper, healthier, and more varied, too.
But for plant-based food to change the world requires producing huge quantities of it and selling it where consumers will want to buy it. And that, in turn, requires confronting the reality that consumers like fast food and that there’s real value in providing them with fast food that’s better for the world. The backlash to plant-based meat, when you look at it closely, is a backlash against our food system in general — mistakenly directed at one of the more promising efforts to make it a little bit better’. SOURCE…