Saturday, February 18, 2023

Fake Meat Has Failed: People Want the Real Deal

I did not bother to write much about faux meat at all when it was been hyped. Stepping in for the obituary is much more fun. As a sort of past venture capitalist, i am fully aware that the majority new product launches fail miserably.

All this smacked of well funded business adventures pushing someones hobby horse on to us.

Quite honestly, i do like pea protein, otherwise known as Dal or Hummus..  There is a serious future for all forms of grain porridges.

Our modern problem is way too much choice.  Adding fake meat is counter productive.

Fake Meat Has Failed: People Want the Real Deal

Within the past ten days, both Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger have announced that they plan to lay off 20% of their workforces. Despite early media hype about how these highly processed plant burgers would “save the planet,” it turned out a lot of people just didn’t like them that much.
Americans keep hearing that we need to eat less meat.

This may be true. I’ve had friends that hit Whataburger two or three times a day, which is probably not necessary. I love Whataburger too, but not 10+ times a week. And a quick glance at Pub Med will show many articles about research being done, trying to nudge people into making healthier food choices. The World Economic Forum openly wants to “Nudge Meat Off the Menu.”

If this was all about health, well, a lot of us could probably use it. But is it just about health? Or are other factors at play here? Let’s look at some of the alternative proteins currently being pushed.
More research is being done all the time on plant proteins.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are both companies producing a synthetic ground meat substitute that somewhat looks and tastes like real beef. The hubris surrounding these companies’ product releases was pretty amazing.

Both companies believe their products will save the world, and for a time, they were able to attract many celebrity endorsements and investors. They believe ending animal agriculture will solve humanity’s environmental problems and see their products as a more ethical substitute.

So, what are these magically virtuous products? Beyond burgers are mostly made of pea and rice protein, and canola and coconut oil. Impossible burgers are made with soy protein, sunflower oil, and coconut oil. Both fake meat products “bleed.”Beyond uses beet juice to achieve this, while Impossible uses heme, a flavoring created from a genetically modified yeast.

I’ve tried these myself because I’ll try almost anything food-wise. If they’re mixed in with other foods, like in a casserole or lasagna, the taste isn’t super different from ground beef. However, I had some fairly painful digestive problems afterward and have no interest in trying them again.
Insects have also been getting a lot of hype.

We’ve discussed this before at the OP. The WEF has been promoting insect-eating so aggressively and persistently for years now that one of their newer articles comes with this disclaimer:

Help us prevent the spread of disinformation

This article has been intentionally misrepresented on sites that spread false information. Please read the piece for yourself before sharing or commenting.

The World Economic Forum is committed to publishing a wide array of opinions.

Misrepresenting content diminishes open conversations.

So, here’s the WEF article for you to read yourself, if you need more proof that they want us to eat insects.

In sum, the above-referenced WEF article claims that:Insects produce equivalent amounts of quality protein when compared to animals.
Insects require less care and upkeep than livestock.
We’re actually running out of protein.
Insects are part of a virtuous ecocycle.
You can start small and work your way up.

As a meat producer, I could take issue with every single one of these points. But that’s not the goal of this article. I just want to give evidence that most of us plebes are, indeed, being nudged toward eating insects.

People are getting heated up about this from both sides of the argument.

The European Union just approved lesser mealworm larvae and crickets as acceptable for human consumption. But then, in response, Qatar’s health minister reaffirmed his country’s ban on insect eating, saying that it is not halal and thereby forbidden for devout Muslims.

And this touches on why forcing us to eat certain things is more malicious than it may first appear. I’m not Muslim or Jewish. I’m supposed to avoid meat products at certain times of the year, but other than that, I don’t follow a religion with particularly strict dietary guidelines. However, I do have strong feelings about being able to practice my religion, and I tend to sympathize with others that feel the same way. When Jews and Muslims are being misled about the contents of their food, they are not just being “nudged” to make different diet choices; they are being nudged to violate their religious beliefs.

(Don’t want to eat bugs? Then check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to building a 3-layer food storage system.)
Whether we knowingly choose them or not, insects are winding up in our food.

Small amounts of insect parts are unavoidable when we eat food produced on a mass scale. Heck, I eat tons of food straight from my garden while I’m working without washing, and I’m sure I’ve scarfed down my share of bugs. I could be more attentive if I so chose.

But this has been going on more than we realize. There has been controversy for some time now about the use of insects to create red dye. Personally, these insects have been used in such small amounts for such a long period of time I am not particularly troubled by it. But the labels merely refer to the insects as natural red 4, crimson lake, or E120. There’s no way to know what it is unless you research it, which has been problematic since many people with shellfish allergies also react to insects.

Furthermore, small amounts of insects being used for food coloring is completely different from replacing diet staples like meat patties or flour with insects. In some ways, this is similar to the nutritional issues with soy. For a long time, soy was touted as a great meat alternative because it’s high in protein. And soy foods have been used in Asian countries for thousands of years.
However, traditional Asian societies had very specific preparation techniques for soy.

Western countries that used novel preparation techniques found out that highly processed soy products are associated with their own set of health concerns.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Humans have been evolving for millennia; our guts have been evolving, too, with the natural foods surrounding us. The assumption that we can dump all kinds of new crap into our systems and function just as well as ever should strike us as dangerous.
But we keep doing it anyway, and algae is another novel food they’re trying to push on us.

As with insects, proponents claim that algae is another source of protein that grows more quickly than meat. Also, like insects, eating algae is something many people find instinctively distasteful, which means that algae will most likely continue being added to products in the form of powders.

And again, while some algal species such as nori, spirulina, and carrageenan have been used as food sources for centuries, they were not consumed as the highly processed powders being pushed on us today. Even Irish carrageenan enthusiasts admit that the processed carrageenan ubiquitous in ice cream and other dairy products has been stripped of much of its nutritional value.
There is a distinct pattern here.

Capital is flowing toward companies that take relatively obscure foods, subject them to extreme processing, and then market them as healthier and more virtuous alternatives to traditional meat. This makes me think that this is less about health and sustainability and more about consolidating food production.

More processing means more money for the processors and investors, and nowhere is this more obvious than lab-grown meat.

So-called clean meat is a product made from animal cells cultured in large fermentation tanks. People have been researching this for years, with the first lab-grown burger being produced in 2013 for a whopping $330,000. Costs have come down since then, but as of 2022, even fairly optimistic proponents couldn’t see wholesale prices dropping below $17/lb, which means packaged products in the grocery store cost roughly $40/lb.

Beef’s gotten expensive, but it’s not $40/lb. Not yet, anyway, though that may change. Meat prices have stabilized recently because so many ranchers sent their animals to the slaughterhouse last year. Feed went crazy in 2022 for a few different reasons (drought , fuel prices, fertilizer export bans) and so it made sense to cull herds. That’s what’s in the grocery store right now.

However, as of February 2023, the American beef herd is at its lowest level since 1962 which means that, once we eat up what’s currently at the store, it will be slim pickings for a while. If beef does hit $40/lb (I really hope it doesn’t), then it may get a bit more difficult to choose between meat from a real animal and a cellular slurry culture grown in a tank.
But I think those of us trying to avoid the New World Order should take heart at the general public’s loss of interest in Beyond and Impossible foods.

It’s important to see that novel foods are marketed in much the same way as fashionable clothes. Once you start looking at food trends the same way you look at bell bottoms or those giant FUBU jeans everyone wore in the 90s, it becomes easier to see through the hype and stick to looking for the foods that previous generations grew strong on.

It’s going to be more important than ever to read labels carefully if you want to retain a diet of familiar foods. And if it’s at all possible to buy meat from a farmer who you know, that would be even better, assuming you’re not in a position to raise meat yourself.

If you have a diet that works for you, don’t fall for the hype.

Continue to read labels, and do your best to support farmers producing the food you rely on. It may get less easy, but your health and the knowledge that you’re supporting farmers in your area rather than giant global conglomerates will be worth it.

And what if you want to eat less meat anyway, not because Klaus told you to but because you’ve decided your body needs a break? From Egyptian foul to Indian dal, the world is full of delicious traditional vegetarian dishes. Good old-fashioned beans and veggies taste as good as they ever have, and you don’t need a laboratory for those.

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