Pop quiz: What sells out in an hour?
Did you guess the newest iPhone? Maybe Coachella tickets? Harry Potter Books? Well, if you guessed veggie burger, you’d be right, too (RIP Harry Potter books).
Yep. Veggie burgers.
Beyond Meat, the aggressive plant-based “meat” company based out of El Segundo, Calif., launched its much sought-after Beyond Burger at the Boulder, Colorado Whole Foods location a few weeks ago. It sold out in under an hour.
That must be some burger.
Beyond Meat thinks so. In fact, the company thinks it is so worthy a burger, it worked with Whole Foods Market to place the Beyond Burgers next to the meat case in its stores.
“[Our] goal has always been to get in the meat case,” Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown told FoodNavigator-USA.
The company currently sells its frozen Beast Burgers (as well as meatballs, meaty crumbles, and vegan chicken strips) in Whole Foods nationally, but the Beyond Burger is a veggie burger of a different animal plant. The pea-protein-based burger is reportefly dense and chewy, and yes, meaty, like an animal-based burger (we haven't tried it yet, but that's what we hear). Pulverized beets give it a red center that “bleeds.”
Do vegans want meat (or milk or eggs) that’s indistinguishable from animal products? Or are they good with more kale and quinoa? Turns out the answer is definitely maybe.
Most vegans weren’t raised vegan—but for health, environmental, or ethical reasons (or all of them), they gave up animal products, and may still miss the flavors or textures.
Cue up the old-school science film on our evolution and you’ll learn that most humans in the way-back days were hunters and gatherers. We ate meat, and that evolutionary connection still lingers in our DNA. Some experts even credit meat-eating with our super brain power—condensed protein and calories delivered in a convenient way (cooked) helped us to evolve cognitively, mainly because we weren’t spending our entire days eating (no offense, dear pandas).
But this evolution may also be the very reason we can now easily move away from eating animals, too. We’ve evolved enough to be able to recreate animal products with even superior health benefits and without all the mess and ethical quandaries raising billions of animals for food dredges up.
And that’s where companies like Beyond Meat come in.
“I’m not telling people not to eat meat,” Brown said. “I’m allowing them to continue eating what they love, which is meat, but have it to be meat from plants.”
Just like “milk” nowadays can mean the white, creamy fluid that comes from cows, or from almonds, coconuts, soybeans, flax seeds, cashews, hemp seeds, and even oats--“meat,” with help from Beyond Meat and other companies, like Minnesota’s Herbivorous Butcher, the nation's first vegan butcher shop, also means protein-dense plant-based foods as much as it means recently deceased animals. And strictly from a numbers perspective the variety of plant sources of meat (and milk) far outnumber the very few types of livestock animals we rely on for the products that we've long associated with their market names. A lentil-based "burger" at by CHLOE can satisfy any burger craving, so does it matter that it's not cow-based? (The cow would argue that no, it most certainly does not.) And what's happening in the vegan cheese category is nothing short of a full-fledged revolution.
So, it's no wonder a veggie burger sells out in an hour. It satisfies our cravings, our nutritional needs, and our evolutionary curiosity. Can we have all the meat we want without the animal suffering? Without the greenhouse gases? Without the high cholesterol? The answer, says Beyond Meat, is a most-delicious yes.
For the squeamish vegan who avoids the meat counter like the plague, you can still find the Beast Burger in the frozen section of your supermarket.
The Beyond Burgers will be rolling out to other Whole Foods Market meat counter locations over the next few months.
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