Pic of one of my lovely lambs born a few weeks ago #lambspam
As a long term vegetarian who has Beyond Meat as a client, watching the rise of the plant-based meat / meat alternatives industry and the debate around it has been exciting and interesting to follow.
As someone who LOVED meat when I was younger (and pretty much hated most vegetables apart from potatoes and peas), giving it up was a huge sacrifice, but one I thought worth it, as an animal lover. I come from a farming area and had seen first hand on neighbouring farms, animals being kept in conditions I didn’t think acceptable (mainly pigs) and had even inadvertently gone to a local slaughterhouse, which was the final nail in the meat coffin.
Going vegetarian in the 80’s (yep that old), was madly hard. Firstly, no one really agreed with it, so that was the first challenge, and secondly, no one catered for it. You were a social pariah. I got used to going to restaurants and pubs with my family and being given “roast beef and Yorkshire pudding without the meat and gravy”, and sometimes without the potatoes too, as they were often made with beef dripping. Basically a plate of veg and a Yorkshire pudding. Then came the goat’s cheese era, where there was one vegetarian meal on the menu and it always had goats cheese in it - risotto, pasta, salad, tarte - to this day I hate goats cheese for that reason.
Now, most of those challenges have gone. People are more accepting of vegetarians and vegans; chefs are more creative with vegetables and people are making the decision to go veggie or vegan, or at least eating less meat to help the planet, for health or for animal welfare reasons.
While eating plant-based meat or “faux meat” has seen a massive surge in popularity, there are still those who think it’s a fad, over processed and not natural. If we look, however, at why people have chosen to give up meat (or cut down) there are a range of motives from ethical reasons to just preferring the taste and feel of a veggie diet, and then there are those that haven’t given up meat, as they are not convinced they can live without.
To me, it’s all about having a choice and not being pigeonholed or indeed judged. You can choose to eat dishes made of vegetables that taste like vegetables, you can choose to have something that is made of vegetables and tastes like meat, or you can choose to eat meat - as long as it is ethically and sustainably raised :-). The joy is having the choice. Instead of thinking of it as a fad, let's instead think of it as another choice to help people eat what they like with the added bonus of being good for the planet.