While many people can live a vegan lifestyle and give up meat, not everyone can. In fact, only 0.5% of the US population is vegan. The reality of the situation is that widespread adoption is not going to happen anytime soon, but alternative meat can help.
Currently, alternative meat products only make up 1.4% of all retail meat sales. It’s not much, to say the least, but it is growing steadily. However, it needs to become a much larger part of our diet if we are going to successfully meet the Paris Agreement’s goal.
Let’s take a look at the problems alternative meat is facing.
It Just Doesn’t Taste The Same
Let’s face it, meat tastes really good when it is cooked correctly. Asking the average person to give it up is a real uphill battle, and the biggest hurdle is trying to sell meat substitutes on just their taste.
While some have a genuinely unique taste that many find delicious, the majority of people would rather have the real thing.
And that’s exactly why these companies are continuing to innovate. If you were to compare the taste of Beyond or Impossible meat years ago to more recent additions, it’s night and day.
Yet, they are still too far from the taste and savoriness of actual meat.
One of the best examples of this was the Impossible Whopper Challenge at Burger King. While it was a huge step up from most vegetarian burgers, when compared to the actual burger, it was a bit disappointing.
Until the taste is closer to real meat, selling it to the masses is difficult.
The Price Tag on Alternative Meat Is High
Now even if the taste doesn’t keep you away, the price will. For a struggling family, picking affordable food is important, and with rising food prices across the board, that has never been more critical.
For instance, you can typically find a two-pack of beyond burgers in your local supermarket. In most cases, you are able to buy meat at a cheaper price that results in more burgers for your family.
The good news is that prices are dropping, as producers like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are trying to match the price of regular meat.
In fact, this isn’t just a problem with meat alternatives. The same is true for organically grown vegetables.
While many love organic veggies, trying to justify the prices you might find in a Whole Foods vs a Walmart is difficult. Healthier options need to be more affordable before they can go mainstream.
Yet, Meat Alternatives Offer So Many Benefits
Now if you can get past these two criticisms, meat alternatives have so much to offer.
Obviously, the environmental impact is huge. Emissions from animal-based foods are twice that of plant-based alternatives. If real meat production were to decrease, less land would be needed to maintain livestock.
It also means a lot fewer cow farts.
There are also numerous health advantages to eating less meat. Plants can provide a lot of nutrition, but just make sure to double-check the back of the box, high sodium has become more common with more processing.
If the world is going to cut emissions, meat alternatives will play a critical role.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.