What are your thoughts on impossible/beyond meat burgers?

Lou

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QualityGains

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I think fake meats in general are probably one of the best things that happened to the vegan movement. Fake meats are arguably NOT a healthy eating choice. Nonetheless I'll see a huge benefit of it in the sense of reducing animal suffering. Here's why:

To bring my point across let's take a look at the UK and the 'Halal' meat trend.
The percentage of animals that are produced to comply with the religious practice far outweighs the muslim population.

Why?

See, there are two consumers of meat:
  1. Regular consumers (eat halal and non-halal)
  2. Muslims (eat only halal)
As a meat producer you’re looking to reach both of those target demographics. Just focusing on the regular consumer would be foolish, as it minimizes your outreach. Therefore to maximize profits, you focus on halal production.

We could see the same thing with alternative meat products in the not-so distant future. Once Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers reach the same (if not better) taste than regular meat, there likely will be two consumers again:
  1. Regular meat eaters (eat meat and fake meats)
  2. Vegans (eat only fake meats)
As a producer, again, you will focus on fake meat production. Not because of ethical reasons, but because you're looking to maximize profits.

After that I think it's likely that we'll enter into a positive spiral. Due to the increased production of fake meats we'll see economy of scale in action, meaning that production will be even more cost effective and efficient. Driving down the prices of fake meats to that extent, that more consumer will favor fake meats over regular meat (fake meats can technically be offered at much lower prices, as it essentially cuts out the 'middle man' of food production, meaning: animals).

And again, when more consumer will favor fake meats, more producers will opt for that ethical choice. Sooner or later meat producing companies might get obsolete, not because of regulatory interventions or activism, but because of economic progress.

Fake meat companies keep me optimistic.
 
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Lou

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TofuRobot

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We picked up a couple of Beyond burgers at the store yesterday b/c my son asked for them. He liked it a lot - along with the Violife cheese slices that we'd never had (and we've tried lots). He said that was probably the best vegan cheese of all that we've tried.

I joked about the Beyond burgers being a 'gateway drug' LOL (it better not be!)
 
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Forest Nymph

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Another good article on the whole Meatless Meats trends.


I'll come back later and add some of my thoughts.
This is mildly related/unrelated. Ezra Klein, the co-founder of Vox is a strict ethical vegetarian (he's not vegan though mostly plant based he admits to eating cheese very rarely, and doesn't see a problem with it though he defends animal rights and environmental reduction of meat). He was a very interesting guest of DXE while I was in Berkeley. He advocates including vegetarians in animal rights movements while holding them to a high plant based standard to exclude the "all or nothing" mindset that could alienate some individuals from even trying. He had some good things to say, I didn't agree with all of it, I think he's very much a mainstream compromiser. But Impossible Burgers are made for people like him which is why I don't knock them, even if they were animal tested and contain GMOs and I will probably never eat one unless I'm desperate (why not eat Beyond Burgers? As a vegan).

1152
 
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nobody

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I can. They were tested on animals.
Beyond Burger and many other vegan and accidentally vegan processed foods contain ingredients that were tested on animals, and were only allowed into national retail and restaurant chains because this testing had been performed. Once an ingredient has had a rat study and received a GRAS letter, any other company can use that ingredient in their product and get distribution without having to do a rat study themselves.

The problem is that some people do not understand the requirements that national distribution outlets place on food manufacturers in order to mitigate liability, but I do. I explained it all right here:

 

Forest Nymph

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Beyond Burger and many other vegan and accidentally vegan processed foods contain ingredients that were tested on animals, and were only allowed into national retail and restaurant chains because this testing had been performed. Once an ingredient has had a rat study and received a GRAS letter, any other company can use that ingredient in their product and get distribution without having to do a rat study themselves.

The problem is that some people do not understand the requirements that national distribution outlets place on food manufacturers in order to mitigate liability, but I do. I explained it all right here:

No that is not true. While some products contain ingredients that may have been incidentally tested on animals in the past, Impossible Foods, as a company, recently, intentionally, fed rats excessive amounts of their plant heme for two years. It's not like someone having to take Lithium, or buying a processed food where one ingredient was tested on animals by a different company in 1977.
 
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Lou

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Ok, getting back to the article I posted yesterday....

I just re-read it and I like it even more now.

Oh and just to quickly respond to Forest Nymph. Vox is becoming one of my favorite news sources. Their graphics department is just plain terrific. If you haven't seen their explanation of the Wealth Tax, look it up or PM me and I'll send you a link.

There are a lot of things to like about the article. There were two paragraphs that I was planning on summarizing but they are just too good.
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.​

The article then goes on defending the plant based meats on four fronts.
1. Processing
2 GMOs
3. Health
4. They are fake food

The processing defense is very similar to an argument that I have made several times on this forum. What is processing actually? Does processing mean bad? Can we use the length of a list of ingredients to evaluate a food? The author does a pretty good job of answering both those questions in the negative.

The GMO argument was a bit superficial. One point that they made that I don't think holds water is that non-GMO soy would need to be imported from Brazil.

The health argument pretty much goes like if you want to eat healthily why are you eating a burger?
The fact is that lots of people want, well, a burger. So why not offer them a burger that’s good for the environment, good for animals, and positioned to address huge problems with our food system?​

I think the fake food argument went a little astray but the point is that there is little or nothing natural left in our food system. This can't be worse.

The article then addressed the mass production, mass marketing, and the fast-food issues that some of the critics usewith a really good concluding paragraph.
Three of the biggest harms caused by our current food system are the harms to the environment, to public health through antibiotic resistance, and to animals through factory farming. In order to address all of those, plant-based or lab-produced alternatives to meat must be mass-produced. And if we’re uncomfortable with the fact of mass-production itself then we can’t fix any of the problems it’s currently causing.​

Just one last point - that is my own. Fake meat is not meant for vegans. They are not marketed to vegans. Vegans don't need them. The companies would be nuts to be targeting just vegans. They are for everyone else.

Maybe they will help people make the transition. It's unlikely they will make anyone less vegan.

We do need more people eating less meat. And if this helps then we should be rooting for them. It might be sort of like the Women's Badminton Team coming out to root for the Men's Football Team. but maybe next year the Football team cheers on the World Champion Women's Badminton Team.

Gooooo Vegan!
 

nobody

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No that is not true. While some products contain ingredients that may have been incidentally tested on animals in the past, Impossible Foods, as a company, recently, intentionally, fed rats excessive amounts of their plant heme for two years. It's not like someone having to take Lithium, or buying a processed food where one ingredient was tested on animals by a different company in 1977.
You're not listening. If the 120 rats in the French study I posted at the beginning of my post in the other thread had not died, products containing pea protein isolate, the main ingredient in Beyond Burger, would not be allowed in major chains. It doesn't matter what company paid for the study/brought the ingredient to market first.

In the other thread I asked you if the NEXT company to use soy leghemoglobin (the ingredient Impossible Foods paid to have tested on rats) will get a vegan pass from you since they will not have to perform the study again, because the ingredient has a GRAS letter now, thanks to Impossible Foods and the 188 rats who died in the study. You didn't answer so I'm asking again. .
 
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Sax

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In the other thread I asked you if the NEXT company to use soy leghemoglobin (the ingredient Impossible Foods paid to have tested on rats) will get a vegan pass from you since they will not have to perform the study again, because the ingredient has a GRAS letter now, thanks to Impossible Foods and the 188 rats who died in the study. You didn't answer so I'm asking again.
Assuming this next company didn't exploit animals for profit, then yeah I'd give them a pass. Using knowledge/regulatory approval from past instances of exploitation is a very different thing than having a choice of whether or not to hurt animals and making the decision to hurt them so that you can make money. In case I really need to spell it out: one of those cases causes harm to animals, the other doesn't.

The defense of Impossible isn't without merit, but fake meat is a luxury and animals shouldn't die so it can be brought to market.
 
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nobody

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Assuming this next company didn't exploit animals for profit, then yeah I'd give them a pass. Using knowledge/regulatory approval from past instances of exploitation is a very different thing than having a choice of whether or not to hurt animals and making the decision to hurt them so that you can make money. In case I really need to spell it out: one of those cases causes harm to animals, the other doesn't.

The defense of Impossible isn't without merit, but fake meat is a luxury and animals shouldn't die so it can be brought to market.
The 188 rats did not die to make money, they died to REPLACE real meat in the food supply and thereby help many more animals than the 188 who died.
 

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Do you honestly think I don't understand the defense? I'm working with the same facts and have come to a different opinion. If you don't want to accept that it isn't my problem.
 

nobody

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Assuming this next company didn't exploit animals for profit, then yeah I'd give them a pass. Using knowledge/regulatory approval from past instances of exploitation is a very different thing than having a choice of whether or not to hurt animals and making the decision to hurt them so that you can make money. In case I really need to spell it out: one of those cases causes harm to animals, the other doesn't.

The defense of Impossible isn't without merit, but fake meat is a luxury and animals shouldn't die so it can be brought to market.
Beyond Meat gets some of its pea protein isolate from the French company Roquette Group, which paid for and co-authored the study on this ingredient in which 120 rats died. So in light of that information does Beyond Meat still get a pass (if you consider Beyond Meat vegan currently, I assume you do)?

Puris is not Beyond's sole pea protein supplier. According to company filings from July 31, it also sources pea protein from Roquette, which is based in France.

Corresponding Author:

Dr. Srinivasan M.*
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Email: sini256@sify.com
Phone: (o) + 91 - 44 – 27174246

Dr. Chentouf Aouatif Senior Scientist
Email: aouatif.chentouf@roquette.com
Phone: (o) 0033 (0)321635488

Philippe Looten
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Email: Philippe @roquette.com
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Dr. Srinivas A. Senior Scientist
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Dr. Yogeshkumar V. Murkunde HOD
Email: Yogeshkumar@iibat.com
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They are far too 'meaty' for me. I bought some beyond meat burgers and as soon as i started eating them i couldn't take it and had to stop. The 'meatiness' put me off. I think these burgers are definitely catered more for people who are transitioning or used to like meat before.
 

nobody

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I think these burgers are definitely catered more for people who are transitioning or used to like meat before.
Primarily, they are geared toward omnivores and replacing real meat in the food supply. That is why you can find Impossible and Beyond in the meat section of some grocery stores, a section no vegan/vegan newbie would tread.

My grocery store has a special natural foods/organic section and there are coolers/freezers in that section where all the refrigerated/frozen vegan food is, and they have both Impossible and Beyond meat available in that section.

They also sell Impossible Beef in the meat section, right alongside the real ground beef. But there is no Beyond Beef in the meat section at my store. I'm not sure why. I think Whole Foods keeps Beyond in the meat section.
 

nobody

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The defense of Impossible isn't without merit, but fake meat is a luxury and animals shouldn't die so it can be brought to market
It may be a luxury item for a vegan, but when an omnivore eats it instead of real meat, convincing fake meat is a life saving item, or a "life preventing" item, for farm animals, not to mention wild caught fish.

Medicine for humans is considered vegan even though it was tested on animals, even if the medicine only helps to alleviate minor ailments, such as a headache.

On the other hand, convincing fake meat such as Impossible Burger is not considered vegan if it contains ingredients that were tested on animals, even if it saves billions of farm animal lives. Why, because it only saves lowly animals rather than humans? That's speciesism.
 

FredVegrox

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I am glad that people who would eat meat would in some circumstances choose the plant-based alternative. But if I know that animals were harmed purposely to make any of such things available, I know then it is not vegan.
 

nobody

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I am glad that people who would eat meat would in some circumstances choose the plant-based alternative. But if I know that animals were harmed purposely to make any of such things available, I know then it is not vegan.
All traditional prescription and over the counter medicine has been tested on animals and since medicine is considered "necessary", it isn't considered possible or practicable to exclude it. Therefore you can say medicine is vegan, or that it is not "non vegan" to take your medicine. Do you agree, or would you say taking medicine is not vegan, because the medicine was tested on animals?
 
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