I love going to the grocery store and seeing a fully stocked meat case full of options. While I’m a beef girl at heart, I don’t mind veering into new territory during grilling season and changing things up with the occasional pork chop, ribs or chicken drumsticks.
Maybe it’s because the beef industry has always had a healthy competition with these other protein choices. I know and respect many hog and poultry producers who take great pride in what they do and help feed a hungry planet with nutrient-dense protein.
Granted, I still think beef is king, and as a rancher, would you expect anything less of me? Without question, and I know I’m biased, I think beef provides greater satiety and a richer, more robust taste while also being a nutritional powerhouse that is loved and adored by people here and around the world.
Nope, I’m not going to apologize for wanting beef to be at the center of the dinner table, nor do I think we should eliminate consumer choices at the meat case.
But there’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing that should be merchandized in the processed vegetable aisle, not the meat case. It’s plant-based patties, and I make no bones about it, I’m not a fan.
It’s not because I fear the competition. Nor do I think these products have an edge on taste, environmental impact or nutritional benefits. And I certainly don’t begrudge a farmer for producing the ingredients for these products.
However, my beef, pun intended, with these companies is their blatantly communicated desire to disrupt the meat industry, take beef off the menu entirely and do it while smearing our reputation and stealing our nomenclature.
So what are these slick investors from Silicon Valley up to? Check out the latest on Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and other plant-based protein companies to see if they are gaining traction this summer.
1. “Beyond meat may be bad for the environment” featured on Seeking Alpha
Here is an excerpt: “One of the reasons certain investors love Beyond Meat (BYND) is a belief that it is an eco-friendly company that embraces all that is green. But a closer look reveals a concerning reality that is quite different from this widely held belief.
“Beyond's supply chain, logistics, and agricultural requirements are, in fact, extremely unfriendly to the environment and generate a substantial carbon footprint and other negative externalities. ESG Investors, in particular, should be cognizant of the reality behind the green facade of Beyond Meat.”
2. “Impossible Foods CEO says the meat industry will be obsolete in 15 years — ‘That’s our mission’” by Tyler Clifford for CNBC
“From a nutritional standpoint our products match the protein quality and content of the animal products that they replace” and “ours is a clear winner from a health and nutrition standpoint,” said Impossible Foods CEO Patrick Brown in an interview with CNBC.
3. “Big chains resume their plant-based crusade” by Jonathan Maze for Restaurant Business
Maze writes, “Remember when fake meat was all the rage? Those days appear to be back again. This week, Starbucks somewhat surprisingly announced plans to sell an Impossible Breakfast Sandwich nationwide, made with Impossible Foods’ plant-based sausage product.
“That introduction came not long after Burger King, which is staking much of its future on fake meat, made national its Impossible Croissan’wich, which the company began testing earlier this year.”
4. “Meat prices are surging. Good news: Fake meat is getting cheaper” by Alicia Wallace for CNN Business
Wallace writes, “With meat prices on the rise, a plant-based protein purveyor is making a play for consumers' pocketbooks. Beyond Meat next week plans to launch a value pack of its plant-based burger patties for sale in retailers' frozen food sections. The Cookout Classic 10-pack, which Beyond Meat is positioning as a limited-edition product, was developed as a way to sell patties that otherwise would have been produced for restaurants, which have been devastated by the pandemic and stay-at-home measures.”
5. “Fake meat is on the rise, but will it ever replace the real thing?” by Jennifer Walter for Discover
Walter writes, “As for the soy patties at your local grocery: They likely won’t be flying off the shelves like bratwurst on the Fourth of July. But over time, we could see products marketed more to meat-loving Americans who want to add more plants to their diet, while still being conscious of their carbon footprint.”
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.