The Rise of Meatless Meat


Mingyi Chen


Meatless meat. We’ve all heard that word before. And we might even have tasted it. The meatless meat industry has exploded in the last year, as an alternative for real meat. Today I will be answering some popular questions about this product.

But what is meatless meat? Meatless meat is basically meat made from vegetables. It may seem just like a veggie burger, but these are made from plants that taste like meat, not just a jumble of random vegetables. These products are aimed at everyone, whereas the veggie burgers were just made for vegetarians. Vegetarians can also eat these meatless meat products. The difference between a meatless meat burger and a veggie burger is how it looks, tastes and nutrition inside it. Some meatless meat burgers have the color of a burger when you cook it, the fat that comes out and the taste that almost is exactly the same as a regular burger. So why aren’t more people eating meatless meat burgers?

Today, most meatless meat products are just burgers while some have other products. Since there is usually only one meatless meat choice, a burger, people will probably also buy other meat products, such as ham, chicken, and others. Beyond meat also has a sausage product that is only available in other countries, excluding the US. Maybe if that product was released globally, it might make more people turn vegetarian.

Is meatless meat better for the environment? Of course. Meatless meat makes a huge difference for the environment. Picture this. A plant gets energy from the sun. Then we eat that plant. But for instance, a cow has to eat that plant and gain energy, so we can slaughter that cow and get its meat. If we eat from the plant, instead of the cow, we can save a lot of energy and water. For example, for every 10 calories of plants we feed to a cow, we get 1 calorie of meat back. An analysis of the Impossible Burger 2.0 found that the carbon footprint made from it is 89% less than a real meat burger, and it uses 87% less water. So yes, it is much better for the environment. But now meatless meat only makes up about 1% of the entire meat industry, so for it to have a real effect on the world, it has to grow.

Is eating meatless meat more healthy for me? Yes and no. It all depends on what kind of meat burger or patty you are comparing it with. If you are comparing it with a beef burger, of course it’s healthier. But when you compare it with a turkey patty, the sodium content is actually higher. While a plant-based burger is made from vegetables, you can’t just say it is as healthy as a salad. The vegetables inside a plant-based burger are processed, so it is less healthy than a salad, which has unprocessed food.

Does meatless meat mean that the end of real meat is here? No. Not yet. As countries get wealthier, that means an increase in a diet of meat. This increasing demand for more meat is causing a problem. Antibiotic resistance. Animals in factory farms are fed an antibiotic to prevent the animal from catching disease. If they are not given the antibiotic, the bacteria would sweep through and infect almost all the animals since they are in such close quarters. And climate change. As we eat more meat, the factory farms have to expand to create room for more animals. Right now more than 14.5% of greenhouse gases come from cow farts. So if we eat more meatless meat and less real meat, it can lower this percentage. But until at least 10% of the meat industry is meat-less meat, which it will in the future, meat will still be a part of our daily diet.





Vox. The rise of meatless meat explained.

Cows and climate change.