In “Who Profits from Fake Meat?,” the second of two episodes focused on “plant-based” meat, we examine one of the industry’s central promises: that they are on track to replace factory-farmed meat. Is there any indication that this is happening? Or are they just a new revenue stream for tech investors and the biggest and most problematic meat companies — Purdue, Tyson, JBS — who are all now making these alternative meats? We also look at how these products taste and other options for what we could be eating instead of an ultra-processed “fast food” product.
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"When you look at the words from these companies themselves that are investing in the products, what they say is this is not about replacing their animal ag streams. This is about adding to it."
Anna Lappé is a national bestselling author, a respected advocate for food justice and sustainability, and an advisor to funders investing in food system transformation.
Patty Lovera works on food and agriculture policy, with a special focus on animal agriculture. She helped start Food & Water Watch, serving as their Food and Water Program Director for 14 years.
Dr. Rangan is the Chief Science Advisor for FoodPrint, and a toxicologist and public health scientist with 20 years of experience studying the food system. She is a co-chair of the Funders for Regenerative Agriculture and for many years she worked at Consumer Reports, heading up their Food Safety and Sustainability Center.
Ryan is the policy and research analyst for FoodPrint. He holds an M.S. in Agriculture, Food and the Environment from The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Alicia Kennedy is a food and culture writer who has a widely read Substack newsletter called “From the Desk of Alicia Kennedy.” She is at work on a book about ethical eating.
Kale Walch, along with his sister Aubry, runs The Herbivorous Butcher, a vegan butcher shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have also recently opened Herbie Butcher’s Fried Chicken, a vegan fried chicken joint.
In this report, we dig even deeper into how these products deliver on promises of lower environmental impact, fewer animals in production and improved personal health. We also examine what it means to compare these products with their industrial meat counterparts instead of comparing them to more sustainably produced meat, or to truly plant-based protein sources, like beans. Is more technology what is needed?
Read FoodPrint’s deep dive on how industrial crops like soy and corn, two common ingredients in fake meat products, are grown.
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Top photo by Yevhenii/Adobe Stock.