Recently I received product samples from a company called Beyond Meat. Generous portions of three flavor varieties.
The product looked like cut up strips of chicken breast. The product was white-ish gray-ish: the color I would associate with boiled or baked chicken flesh.
For me, the first (red) flag is this: the product is pretending to be something it’s not. Be it people, clothing, or (especially) food, pretensions are generally not good things. Beyond Meat is not made from animal flesh, but it wants to be like animal flesh.
This leads to the second (red) flag raised from this “vegan gluten-free” product. Of the several apparently highly processed ingredients, it has two items in particular that caught my attention: soy protein isolate and pea protein isolate. WTH? Do YOU know how to isolate the proteins in soybeans or peas? I don’t and I’m willing to bet this isn’t something the average cook at home can do. This product, Beyond Meat is just imitation. Meat. That’s a big deal for me: if it’s not real food, I don’t want to eat it. Do you?
Imitation by any other name
Imitation anything is suspect, in my book. Imitation implies pretension; deceit. I acknowledge there is a HUGE market for imitation foods – think sugar free soda, fat free sour cream, imitation crab, low calorie beer, velveeta – and I’m willing to wager a bet that regular consumption of those imitation foods leads to many health issues.
Being a real food enthusiast, I can’t see where a product like this could fit in with a healthful diet.
Behind the up-front issues of this being, really, a non-food item intended for human consumption, I have concern about the people backing this product. This new company is being backed by Bill Gates, as mentioned in an October Fortune article.You may have seen the Huffington Post article or the Dr. Mercola article about another of the projects he has invested in involving Monsanto GM products and African farming opportunities. Or perhaps you have read the InfoWars article about it? At any rate, I’m not comfortable with a proponent and investor in GMO foods or Cargill executives getting all excited about a plant-based meat substitute. Without going too far down the conspiracy theory trail, do you see the closed loop of opportunity for power there? Convince the millions of meat eaters they will do their bodies and the earth good by eating this highly processed product derived from plant materials – from plants that you have a patent on?
Alright. Maybe that’s too far for you. But. Do you really want to eat imitation food? Why not just eat the real, whole food? Why Beyond Meat is beyond me.