Health & Wellbeing

Beyond Meat puts real flavor into plant-based protein

Beyond Meat puts real flavor i...
Beyond Meat has launched plant-based protein strips that emulate the flavor and texture of chicken meat
Beyond Meat has launched plant-based protein strips that emulate the flavor and texture of chicken meat
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Beyond Meat has launched plant-based protein strips that emulate the flavor and texture of chicken meat
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Beyond Meat has launched plant-based protein strips that emulate the flavor and texture of chicken meat

A new brand of plant-based protein food that promises to look, feel, taste and act like chicken meat has hit the stores in the US with a promise to offer a tasty alternative to animal-based food. Beyond Meat is the brainchild of Ethan Brown, an entrepreneur who was brought up on a dairy farm in Maryland USA, whose first-hand experience with animal agriculture led him to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Frustrated with the options available, he decided to search for a better plant-based, processed vegan option to replace meat.

His mission to decrease the number of animals slaughtered for food with innovative plant protein led him to cross paths with Fu-hung Hsieh and Harold Huff at the University of Missouri. Together they developed a process that has been licensed exclusively from that university. Beyond Meat’s processing plant is more like a laboratory than a kitchen (and definitely not like an abattoir), where different ingredients based on soy, pea, carrot and gluten-free flour, among others, undergo a cooking and cooling process before strips of the stuff come out of customized equipment.

The new brand arrives at the market with the endorsement of one of the world’s most famous vegans. The Obvious Corporation, one of its financial supporters, was founded and is headed by Twitter’s Biz Stone. Stone is well known for his engagement to the vegan cause and he even published a link on the Obvious home page to the announcement of his support of Beyond Meat. He believes the company is a game-changer that will become the market leader in the development and introduction of new plant protein products.

Beyond Meat is not the first attempt to mimic meat with plant ingredients (see Gizmag's report on the Fraunhofer Institute’s Vegetarian cutlet factory). But Ethan Brown’s offering is the first one to hit the market with this level of mimetic power, designed to win over to the vegan lifestyle those who appreciate the texture of meat.

Animal agriculture is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases and is estimated to contribute 18 percent of the global total, according to a UN report from 2006, Livestock's long shadow. More than 50 billion land animals are slaughtered every year.

Source: Beyond Meat, Obvious Corporation

23 comments
Frank_Avg
Ingredient List: Water, Soy Protein Isolate, Pea Protein Isolate, Amaranth, Chicken Flavor (Maltodextrin, Yeast Extract, Natural Flavoring), Soy Fiber, Carrot Fiber, Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Dipotassium Phosphate, Titanium Dioxide, White Vinegar 2 Questions: What is the "natural flavoring"? It takes chickens to make chicken stock... Also, my daughter is allergic to Soy.. any alternatives to that?
Gadgeteer
More power to them if they can make it work, but my fear is that the reality won't live up to the hype. I'll stick with the real thing. Sorry, chickens.
inchiki
I'm vegetarian and i like vegetables. I don't even want to pretend to be eating a chicken. If you know how to cook then you can get whatever flavour you want out of vegetables, mushrooms, beans, grains etc etc Putting that little rant aside, it is still a useful thing to be creating new tasty foods and if it means less animals are getting killed then that's a good thing no? I think one day in the future there will be no more meat eating.
Wombat56
In Homer voice: "Mmmm.. Dipotassium Phosphate!"
Eric Eisinger
If their food is so good why do they want it to look and taste like ours?
Scion
I don't understand. If you don't want to eat meat, don't eat meat. Why do you want to eat vegetables that taste and look and feel like meat? Just don't eat meat. This is like those ridiculous low fat / low sugar "alternative" foods. Just eat foods low in those things. EG: 50% fat reduced butter? What? Just eat 50% less butter. Don't want to eat animals? Don't eat animals. I like to eat animals, so I eat them. Giving me a factory produced chemical mishmash that approximates animals is not going to win me over because I'm not up for eating "dipotassium phosphate" or "isolates" or titanium dioxide for that matter. Not unless those thing naturally occur in something I've pulled out of the ground.
Womp
It seems to me that there is a heavy emphasis on the fact that some of this product is sourced from healthy vegetables, but I am not seeing a lot of questioning of just how healthy the final product is once it has undergone processing. After all the potato is a vegetable but it is decidedly unhealthy once it has been processed into a potato chip.
mooseman
I'm fine with almost all of the ingredients. The exceptions are Dipotassium Phosphate and Titanium Dioxide. I do know that titanium dioxide is used in toothpaste (to give it that ultra-white look), but this is something that I would be **eating** - very different to just brushing your teeth and spitting out the toothpaste. I'd say this is very promising, but if they can ditch the Dipotassium Phosphate and Titanium Dioxide, they should. I think that would make people a lot more comfortable with it.
Peggy Hall
For those of you that keep asking why they are trying to make this product look and taste like meat. It is the same reason that Linda McCarthney made many of her selections look and taste as much like meat products as possible and the same for Morning Star and their ilk. It is to attack the person who wants to eat healthier or is thinking about the vegetarian lifestyle but still wants a good hamburger or meat sause for their spaghetti. Or for the person who needs to trick the other people at the dinner table into a meatless meal.
Jim Sadler
The best part of a chicken is the skin. But in all seriousness everything seems to remind people of chicken. Serve them rattlesnake and they will say its sort of like chicken. For us real carnivors beef is the treat. Make it taste like beef or a tender young lobster and we are on a roll. Some of the soy burgers and crumble products are actually quite good now. Now if we could get the prices down a bit we would be chomping more.