August 6, 2012
Meat substitutes become more formidable rival to the real thing
As more consumers cut down on meat, a trend we spotlighted in our February report on food, new meatless options are sprouting up. San Francisco-based Beyond Meat has been getting a lot of buzz for its “freakishly realistic” chicken substitute, made with soy, pea powder, carrot fiber and gluten-free flour. Created by two scientists after more than a decade of experimenting, it reportedly has an almost indistinguishable texture from actual chicken. It’s also wallet-friendly, cheaper than most meat substitutions as well as real chicken.
Taking meat substitutions one step further is a so-called “vegetarian butcher” in the Netherlands whose products are “some of the most convincing meat replicas ever,” according to The Independent. While the shop looks like a typical butcher’s from the outside and appears to have similar products—chicken, minced beef, sausage rolls—all products are either made from non-GMO soy or local lupin beans. Vegetarian Butcher products are sold in retail outlets throughout the country, and the brand has plans to go international.
As meat prices rise (this summer’s U.S. drought is pushing up prices for cattle feed worldwide), and consumers become more aware of the environmental costs of meat production and the health consequences of a meat-heavy diet, shoppers will look for new ways to fill the meat gap. (Currently, according to Mintel, the $340 million U.S. market for meat substitutes is growing at 3-5 percent per year.) Asks The Independent: “Is meat in the 21st century destined to go the same way as fur, where faux becomes the mainstream version?”
Image credit: Beyond Meat