This is a story that has been coming for a while now, but seeing it on the front page of The New York Times brings it home.
The big guys of the food industry now want to make your vegan food.
The NYT story runs
Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, scrappy start-ups that share a penchant for superlatives and a commitment to protecting the environment, have dominated the relatively new market for vegetarian food that looks and tastes like meat.
But with plant-based burgers, sausages and chicken increasingly popular and available in fast-food restaurants and grocery stores across the United States, a new group of companies has started making meatless meat: the food conglomerates and meat producers that Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods originally set out to disrupt.
In recent months, major food companies like Tyson, Smithfield, Perdue, Hormel and Nestlé have rolled out their own meat alternatives, filling supermarket shelves with plant-based burgers, meatballs and chicken nuggets.
The article the goes onto talk about how plant based food is being purchased by non-vegans, why KFC, Burger King and others all want a slice of the vegan pie and the growth of vegan food in US supermarkets.
In a way it mirrors a trend that has been happening the UK for over three years now as pretty much every supermarket champions its own vegan range and Tesco has produced a vegan advert featuring child who doesn’t want to eat animals.
But how do you feel about your vegan food being produced by companies who up until now have specialised in animal products or who have generally poor records on sustainability?
For all the excitement UK vegans felt when Greggs launched a vegan sausage roll, we have to remember this a company that sells literally millions of meat based snacks every week. And it obviously isn’t just Greggs.
So it’s a dilemma – great to see vegan food going mainstream, but do we just hold our noses and ignore the fact that many of the new big players in vegan meat actually specialise in the real thing?
Or hope that the cleaner vegan startups disrupting the market like Impossible, Beyond and Moving Mountains/Vurger/Violife in the UK, gain enough momentum to keep ahead of their rivals.
What do you think?