21/05/2024 11:40 PM

Desertridgems

Swing your Cooking

Lab-Grown Food: Meat Without Murder

In 2022, it’s more common than ever to see the plant-based diet represented in the world of dining. From Impossible Burgers to dairy-free cheese, the sticky, laminated folds of restaurant menus have opened up to the idea of vegan and vegetarian cuisine. Your waiter doesn’t care whether you’re a life-long vegan, kosher or just watching your cholesterol — the reasons behind avoiding animal products are varying, and it’s never mattered less. 

At the same time, recently, issues regarding animal agriculture have received more attention. Environmental impacts, excessive water use, land intensification and health impacts are all areas of concern that are becoming more common among consumers. Beef cattle production is responsible for around half of greenhouse gas emissions caused by agriculture, and many people report a desire to cut back on red meat consumption in favor of plant-based alternatives. For those who wish to eat less meat, the plant-based market has widened immensely to include a plethora of choices. While vegan diners could previously expect to order a black bean burger or simply stick to a salad, the emergence of products such as Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger have shifted the landscape of meatless options. Not only are these items spotted in the grocery store and on menus, but they are also now appearing in many fast-food spots and drive-throughs, as the brands create successful partnerships with global chains. 

For some people who abstain from consuming meat, it might seem odd to seek out its taste and texture. After all, how can something be appealing while simultaneously going against your moral code? However, not everyone goes vegetarian for ethical reasons. In the case of health restrictions or environmental concerns, for example, people might still desire the sensation of a juicy burger or a crispy chicken nugget. This shared urge is what has made brands like Beyond Meat so profitable –– that post-bite reaction, that “I can’t believe it’s not real!” taste. The near-perfect imitation of an animal product is enough for many vegetarian and vegan consumers. Others want to push science even farther. While plant-based meat alternatives have been immensely successful, there is still something left to be desired –– genuineness.