June 26, 2019
In recent weeks, the latest in plant-based and petri-dish protein headlines have dominated the news. And despite consumers not exactly going wild over choices like the Beyond and Impossible Burgers—because really, these are just processed junk parading themselves as alternatives to beef burgers—there appears to be a new contender in town. It’s called the Awesome Burger, and it’s made by Nestle.
According to Fast Company, “Three years ago, the plant-based but meat-like Beyond Burger hit shelves at a Whole Foods in Colorado. The next month, the Impossible Burger went on the menu at Momufuku Nishi in New York City. Now–as the Impossible Burger starts to roll out at Burger King nationwide, and Beyond recently had the best-performing IPO of the year–Nestlé, the largest food company in the world, is preparing for the U.S. launch of a similarly realistic plant-based burger of its own. Called the Awesome Burger, the new product was developed by Sweet Earth, a California-based brand that Nestlé acquired in 2017.”
These companies have an interesting marketing strategy, stealing the highly regarded nomenclature “beef” and “burger,” which was bought and paid for by producers through investments in the Beef Checkoff, and then adding a fun adjective to the front — awesome, beyond, impossible, etc.
Perhaps the beef industry should take a cue from these companies and start tacking on adjectives of our own. Let me take a stab at it with these:
More Than Just A Burger (There’s By-Products, Too).
Nothing But The Beef Burger.
100% Beef Burger.
The Real Deal Burger.
Mother Nature’s Burger.
Hey, I think I might have a winner in there, don’t you?
I write these in jest, but in all seriousness, these emerging protein companies trying to sell their glorified processed Doritos as healthier replacements to beef is ridiculous. I think once the hype of this new trend dies down, the consumer will more than agree with me.
And when I think of the real deal, 100%, nothing but the beef burger, I know with great certainty that we have science-based nutrition on our side.
Take, for example, these recent headlines, which prove that beef derived from cattle is the “wise” choice for our brains and for our bodies, too.
1. “Eating meat may have paved the way for today’s 6,500 spoken languages” by Allison Eck for PBS
Eck writes, “Meat-eating might have allowed the many beautiful languages spoken in the world today to come into existence. When early hominins stopped needing to select for big teeth, facial structures were freed up to select for other advantageous properties—like short vocal cavities relative to the vocal tract, increased turbulence in the nose, and shorter snouts. The first two characteristics would have helped early hominins produce speech, and the latter would have shifted our center of mass for increased stabilization while running.”
2. “Food for Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter” by Christopher Joyce for NPR
Joyce writes, “As we got more meat, our guts shrank because we didn't need a giant vegetable processor any more. Our bodies could spend more energy on other things like building a bigger brain. Sorry, vegetarians, but eating meat apparently made our ancestors smarter — smart enough to make better tools, which in turn led to other changes.”
3. “Study finds red meat as part of a healthy diet linked to reduced risk of multiple sclerosis” by Curtin University
According to the study, “Previous research suggests that a Mediterranean diet can help to reduce the risk of certain health issues, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and dementia and improve overall life expectancy. However, there is inconclusive evidence to suggest a Mediterranean diet also reduces the risk of developing MS. Our research found that consuming one daily serving (65 g) of unprocessed red meat as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet may be beneficial for those at high risk of developing MS."
4. Are vegan diets really the healthiest choice? Watch this debate to find out.
Nina Teicholz, author of “Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong in A Healthy Diet,” recently debated a pro-plant-based expert on the lack of rigorous science to back a meatless way of eating.
So while “experts” with extreme biases try to spoon-feed their plant-based diet regimes down our throats, I will continue to happily prepare meat for myself and my family. I’m confident that consuming beef — the real deal beef, that is — is a nutrient-dense source of what our bodies and brains need to thrive.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.
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