Scientists are ready to provide the world with a plausible vegan alternative to meat… Are we ready?
Those who have tried new samples of vegan patties declare that a (100% bloodless!) “cutlet revolution” has occurred! The fact is that the modern (American) food industry is already ready to provide us with a 100% vegetarian “patty”, which is no joke! – both in taste and in appearance it is almost indistinguishable from the usual, meat-eaters familiar to many former meat-eaters.
So, now everyone who is used to meat can replace it with “meat 2.0”, which tastes exactly the same, but does not require killing animals?! It seems too good to be true – but it almost is. The “taste” of the product is really close to meat so much that it simply cannot be expressed in words. By the way, what is “taste” anyway? Its organoleptic characteristics consist of: appearance, taste, smell and texture. Manufacturers of one of the leading brands of “vegan meat” – namely, Beyond Meat, claim to have achieved full compliance in all these parameters! Leaving soy crafts far behind – the new product does not contain soy at all, in any subspecies, it is made from … vegetables. Dream? Now reality! And even more than that: a new sample of the “green patty” – which, in fact, is terribly (due to beet juice) – even when cooked – no matter if you fry it in a pan or on an open grill … Isn’t it more, what can be required from a “meat substitute”?
Of course, more! And most importantly: such a “patty” contains no less nutrients and protein than meat, with 100% ethics. The most advanced version of the modern vegan patty, called The Beast, was announced in February 2015 in the US and contains a very clever blend of substances: incl. canola oil, linseed oil, sunflower oil, palm oil, algae oil with DHA, 23 grams vegetable protein, iron, potassium, calcium, vitamins B6, B12, D, antioxidants, and beneficial DHA Omega-3 and ALA Omega-3 amino acids that promote recovery muscle tissue after sports training! As they say, comments are simply superfluous.
This is already, in any case, a real “revolution” – if you compare such a premium product with most soy products of the day yesterday, such as cheap soy balls, which is, in fact, “naked” protein. And in terms of taste, nutritional value, and appearance, such a cutlet is like flying into space compared to a draft cart of products made from tempeh and seitan. The fact that such “meat” is really indistinguishable from “real” has been repeatedly written in the last 2-3 years, including professional restaurant critics,. And besides, the leading VIPs of the planet, such as Bill Gates. Curious, but even about this: the American company Whole Foods once mixed up its products, and sold salads with Beyond Meat’s vegan soy “chicken” instead of the real one (it’s good that it’s not the other way around!): within a few days, consumers who paid money for such salads, just did not notice the difference! Today, in terms of vegan meat substitutes, everything is really so good that one can only wonder: “What progress has come!”
Many experts agree that over the past 2-3 years there has been a real turning point in the “struggle” of vegans and vegetarians to create an ethical and sustainable alternative to meat. These are American manufacturers of vegan cutlets and other similar products and have dubbed The Meat Revolution.
At the forefront of this “revolution” is undoubtedly one patty called “The Beast” (“The Beast”). The path of scientists: biologists, nutritionists – and chefs to the “Beast” was long and difficult. In fact, this path began a very long time ago. Historians that the world’s first samples of vegan “meat” (meat substitutes) were created in ancient China – well, where else, if not in the country that gave gunpowder and a compass to humanity! – around 903-970 (Khan Dynasty). Such cutlets were called “light lamb” and were prepared on the basis of tofu, at first only for the elite itself: the emperor and representatives of his court.
Since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge – including, “thanks” to the meat industry: it is known that 1 liters of water are required to produce 4300 kg of natural chicken meat (for reference, 1 kg of beef is 15 liters of water!) … To put it mildly, a lot , Yes? In that sense, one chicken patty from an otherwise “innocent” burger has more water than your shower will drain in a week! In addition, doctors know that eating meat significantly increases the risk of death from a heart attack. The conditions of keeping and slaughtering animals on industrial farms in general cannot be called anything other than torture …
In principle, it is rather strange that the path from the “imperial tofu cutlet” to the supermodern “Monster” cutlet of the current year’s sample took people … 1113 years. From the first plane drawings to “Let’s go!” Yuri Gagarin passed much less. But if you look, the meat consists mostly of … water. When we put a piece of meat (including vegan) in our mouth, we feel – what? – fats and proteins. Proteins are, in fact, just “lucky”, rather long chains of amino acids, which can be of plant origin as well. So the process of creating a cutlet “just like a real one” is a process of recreating a similar, “tasty” chain of amino acids – only on a plant basis. Including the most delicious of them – glutamic acid (monosodium glutamate), which gives one of the five flavors available to the human tongue (umami). In simple words, it is this taste that is responsible for the fact that many people on the planet love meat. But the same ingredient is also extracted from algae, and even purely “from a test tube”. It’s so easy that any knowledgeable chemist can create delicious “fried chicken” out of a piece of soy even with the stock of a standard school chem lab! Why did this task take more than 1000 years? And why was it decided by experts from Beyond Meat? We may never know. Some experts believe that the secret was that the “meat” of Beyond Mea is marinated in steel barrels in a special sauce, including natural seasonings. This, it seems, is what makes the “meat” of “The Beast” very believable and pleasant – by no means “chemical”! – taste. It was more difficult, say the scientists involved in the creation of the miracle cauldron, with the consistency – after all, meat is muscles: a mechanical system that has a very special structure. This, as you might guess, is not so easy to recreate from beets, chickpeas and sunflower oil! But it succeeded. Perhaps it is in a plausible consistency that the main success of the Monster cutlet is.
A year ago, in September 2015, Professor of Biology at Stanford University (California, USA) Joseph D. Puglisi (and this was the press, including the New York Times): “I’m just sure that the next few years bring inspiring results! We can now create a whole range of vegetable proteins that taste like boiled pork, smoked meat, sausages, pork … “Today, the optimistic professor is already on the team at Beyond Meat, to create even more believable versions of those very “super-cutlets” “Beast” . By the way, this story is like from a Facebook motivator about the need to think and speak positively in public, “send a request to the Universe”!
The Beyond Meat project was announced with great fanfare in April 2013 by VIPs such as Bill Gates. Today, other Beyond Meat products are sold throughout the United States of America (and). Producers emphasize that such cutlets will allow you to feed the whole family with nutritious, ethical and very tasty food – and not harm the ecology of the planet …. The company and other leading producers quite naturally prosper, and the fame of “Better-than-meat” gradually spreads around the planet – and a wave has almost reached us. Well, so what was the matter? Buy, fry and eat? 100% vegan!..
I guess, yes. But not everything is so simple. Firstly, a vegan “cutlet” from a leading manufacturer is about 2 times more expensive than a (homemade) meat one, this is even without taking into account shipping from the USA (buying online will cost more than $100!). And secondly, there are other – although not critical – controversial points that skeptics of the “vegan cutlet version 2.0”. For example, perhaps not all vegans will like to watch how a “steam” vegan cutlet … expires with beetroot juice, color-checked no less carefully than in Hollywood mafia action movies! Moreover, inside each patty there are pieces of vegetables that create a good illusion of muscle fibers in the “meat”, to make such a “patty” even more like a real one – which bleated or mooed not so long ago … Brrr. Have you lost your appetite? Although the cutlet, of course, does not smell like meat at all (others will say “thank you!”), Yet many ideological vegans ask themselves the question – what thoughts does cooking and consumption of such a “super cutlet” give rise to …. It is possible that the “Beast” is the very case when, in the pursuit of plausibility (and also a long dollar!) Manufacturers enlisted the support of the latest technologies, and … went a little further than they should. But still, the main obstacle to the mass consumption of ethical “cutlets” is still far from the “folk” price.
It is clear that the market price of this patty and other high-tech vegan meat substitutes will gradually decrease as the quality continues to improve. So, perhaps – we are waiting for the “second vegan revolution” – this time, the price revolution!
So that the article does not seem like an advertisement to you, we recall that there are, of course, other contenders for the title of fashionable “super cutlet” without meat, vegan brands:
Sweet Earth Natural Foods
Neat’s (not to be confused with the previous one!)
MorningStar Farms, and many lesser known ones.