by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Meat substitutes

Mar 19 2020

What’s up with plant-based?

Here’s what I’ve collected lately on the hot topic of plant-based foods and drinks.

Cargill is now doing plant-based: Cargill Inc will launch plant-based hamburger patties and ground “fake meat” products in April, challenging Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods for sales in grocery stores, cafeterias and restaurants. [Comment: Cargill?  Really?  There must be really money in this space].

Milkadamia taking on dairy and palm: ‘Mighty dairy is being brought to its knees’:  Jindilli Beverages produces a palm and dairy-free alternative to milk, creamers and butter under its Milkadamia brand. The company’s CEO shares his views on the need to challenge the prevalence of products containing dairy and palm oil for the health of people and the planet… Read

Beyond Meat to go on the offensive in wake of attacks on ‘ultra-processed’ plant-based meat: ‘We’re proud of our ingredients and process’:  While its CEO says engaging in an increasingly heated debate over the merits of plant- vs animal-based meat can be a “zero sum” game, Beyond Meat plans to go on the offensive this year with digital and media campaigns that celebrate its ingredients and processes…. Read more

Can wineries leverage plant-based messaging to attract young drinkers?  An oversupply of wine in the US has producers rethinking their branding and marketing strategies to reach millennials and Gen Z drinkers. The Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division (SVB) advises wineries to tap into the ‘better-for-you’ trend and health-forward messaging…. Read more  [Comment: Ah, the selling of alcohol.  It never ceases to amaze].

Pea protein trend sparks allergy warning: The increased use of concentrated pea protein in products could be a factor in increased reports of allergy to peas, according to the Anaphylaxis Campaign…. Read more   [Comment: Pea protein is the leading ingredient in Beyond Burgers].

Mar 5 2020

What’s up with cell-based meats?

Artificial meats constructed from animal muscle cells are in the works but not yet on the market.  Much less is being written about them than about plant-based meats, but occasionally a few items surface.

Coming soon to a supermarket near you?  We shall see.

Feb 13 2020

What’s up? Plant-based meat and dairy substitutes

I’ve been collecting items on what’s happening in the plant-based food world.  Lots.  It’s the hot new topic, as demonstrated by a recent Rabobank Talking Points survey.

For starters, do not miss the competing 30-second, spelling bee videos.  The first is from the Center for Consumer Freedom,  the discredited PR firm that never reveals who pays for their campaigns, although this one is pretty easy to guess; it aired in Washington, DC during the SuperBowl.  The 30-second rebuttal parody is from Impossible Foods, the inventor and marketer of Impossible BurgersCNBC has an exceptionally clear account of what this is all about.

Next, check out the February edition of Scientific American, which has a page titled “Meat the Imitators.” This lists the ingredients of four imitation meats, including Impossible Burger, in comparison to a burger made with real beef.  Worth a look.

Then, see The Guardian on how all this happened (with a long section on cell-based meat, as well).

And now to the industry perspective:

Dec 6 2019

Weekend reading: the latest on plant-based meat and dairy alternatives

I don’t know about you but I am having a hard time keeping up with what’s happening in the market for plant-based meat and dairy substitutes.

For one thing, they are under attack from meat producers.  Here’s the latest on the politics.

Why the attack.  Just take a look at what I’ve collected on this topic in the past couple of weeks.  You can see at a glance why this trend is taking off.  Everyone wants to get into this act in every way they can.

Nov 15 2019

Weekend reading: Meat, Cultured and Not

I’ve been seeing lots of books about meat lately.  Here are two recent ones.

Josh Berson.  The Meat Question: Animals, Humans, and the Deep History of Food.  MIT Press, 2019.

The author is an Australian social scientist, a vegan, who has produced a deep dive into the history of the use of meat as food and as cultural symbol.  As he puts it,

The aim of this book is to unpack what I’ve come to call the Meat Question–Should humans be eating meat, and if so who, and what kinds, and how much?–in the most comprehensive way possible.  The perspective…is deep deep in that it encompasses the history of human meat eating and human relationships with other gregarious vertebrates over a span of more than 2 million years.  (p. 2)

This [book’s] perspective is centered on my conviction that the economic violence of meat has less to do with who can and cannot afford it than with how meat serves to prop up a system of asymmetric benefits from all forms of human activity, not just that related to food.  Growing demand for meat is not simply an outcome of growing affluence.  It is a symptom of the inequality and oppression that have accompanied that affluence. (p. 294)

Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft.  Meat Planet: Artificial Flesh and the Future of Food.  University of California Press, 2019.

This book examines the brand-new industry creating lab-based meat.  These products are not yet on the market but are of such enormous public and economic interest that they are well worth book-length treatment.

This book tells the story of what I found, and what I did not find, in the course of my time in the small, strange world of cultured meat, during what seemed to be the early years of an emerging technology.  I expected to spend time in laboratories…This did happen in some measure, but for the most part I found myself with very little laboratory science to observe and a great many public conversations about cultured meat to participate in and sort through.  (p. 15)

But cultured meat, too, raises moral questions.  Not questions about our moral regard for harvested cells, but questions about the implications cultured meat may hold for our moral regard for animals….It is relatively easy to see how cultured meat would or would not suit different philosophical arguments for animal protection….But assuming that cultured meat leads to abolition of animal agriculture, it will change our sense of what these creatures, these nonhuman animals, are doing in the world. (p. 133)

Both of these books deal with the moral, philosophical, cultural, historical, and socioeconomic implications of meat-eating, although from quite different perspectives.

Nov 14 2019

Lab-based meat and dairy: recent trends

No lab-based meat or dairy product is yet on the market, but lots of people are working on such things.  Here are some recent examples, starting with my favorite.

Oct 30 2019

The Zombie Center for Consumer Freedom is back. Its target? Plant-based meat.

Just in time for Halloween, the zombie is back.

I can hardly believe that the deeply discredited Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)is on the attack again with another one of its snarky full-page ads in the New York Times (Monday, October 28).

The Center is infamous for secrecy about who pays for such things.

In this case, it’s easy to guess that the meat industry must behind it.  The most likely candidate is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) on the basis of its already aggressive campaign against plant-based meat alternatives (see below).

If beef producers are hiring the Center for Consumer Freedom, you know that their industry is in real trouble.

If they are employing the CCF, they deserve to be in trouble.

NCBA Lobbying

CleanFoodFacts.com:  Does it exist?  I can’t find it online.

FoodNavigator-USA has a report of the press release for this, and the Center’s vague discussion of where the funding comes from.

Oct 17 2019

Plant-based meat and dairy: recent innovations

I’ve been collecting items related to plant-based meat and dairy foods from the various newsletters I read.  I am having a hard time keeping up.  This is a super-hot topic with investors pouring money into these products.

Things are moving so quickly that Food Dive has established a plant-protein tracker to help readers keep up.

Even a quick scan of just the titles of these articles will make clear just how hot this area is.

Let’s start with the in-fighting.

Here’s what he’s talking about.  I’ll bet they don’t agree.

As for what the meat industry thinks of all this…

And the New York Times’ take on Big Meat’s getting in on this action.