Where do you sit with the meat substitues debate?


Where do you sit with the meat substitues debate?

veggie burger

The vegan market is changing; formerly a plant-based diet consisting of vegetables and legumes, now consists of meat substitutes. Vegan ‘junk food’ sits on the menu of many a pub and restaurant, and according to The Vegan Society, orders of vegan meals grew 388% between 2016 and 2018. Despite these substitutes being full of additives, a far cry from a plant-based diet, meat substitutes are clearly a big market.

You can now find half the isle at your local supermarket dedicated to meat substitutes. According to Waitrose, vegan and vegetarian food sales are up by 34% compared to last year, and it’s a similar story for its competitors. From vegan chicken to bacon, it begs the question as to whether vegans and vegetarians want to be reminded of meat when they eat.

The ‘bleeding burger’, introduced by US brand, Beyond Meat, came to our UK shelves last year. This haemoglobin-based burger ‘bleeds’ when you bite into it. According to the company, 93% of people purchasing their famous burger are not vegan or vegetarian, they are in fact meat eaters! This indicates that these consumers are conscious of their environmental impact rather than the welfare of animals or health concerns.

In a recent poll, we asked guests whether they believe that meat substitutes should continue to be called vegan chicken and bacon etc or whether they should be called something entirely different. 60% voted for something different.

This of course bodes the question of what we call these items instead. This April, the EU’s agricultural committee voted for a name change from veggie burgers and such products to disks and tubes. But would this just add confusion? Leading meat substitute brand, Quorn’s Geoff Bryant certainly thinks so, “When you think of a sausage you automatically think of other foods that come with it like chips or beans, or if you think of a burger you think about putting it on a bun and enjoying a barbecue,”.

So, it seems we are a little bit split and the future of our meat substitute names still hang in the balance. We are excited to see how the vegan and whole foods market changes and whether they grow together or apart. We predict the latter, with the environment turning meat eater’s vegan, and health conscious guests opting for a plant-based whole foods diet.

What are your thoughts on re-naming meat substitutes? We would love to hear your perspective.

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