The president of a meat alliance has blasted ‘activist organizations’ for promoting clean and plant-based meat.
Clean meat – also known as lab, cultured, or bio meat, is made from animal cells. While it is not vegan, it is supported by a number of vegans because of its potential to lessen the number of animals slaughtered for food. While some manufacturers use foetal bovine serum in the process, some say they will not use it in the products it brings to market. A number of companies are working on bringing a product to market, with many saying 2020 is the goal. JUST plans to bring a product – namely chicken – to market by the end of 2018.
Plant-based meat – which is vegan – is simply made from plants.
Speaking at an event earlier this year about clean meat – and how it is threatening traditional agriculture – Kay Johnson Smith, President of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, talked about why she has a problem with the term ‘clean meat’, as well as addressing other issues she has with the product.
She said: “The Animal Agriculture Alliance supports consumer choice. We’re all about providing products that consumers want consumers want and that they are interested in.”
But she said the meat industry takes issue with the term ‘clean meat’, adding: “This is a term coined by activists who are animal rights activists. They are trying to find alternatives to stop people from eating meat, milk, and eggs.
“So this cultured meat, or lab-grown meat is an alternative that they are really pushing and marketing. They know the consumers are kind of ‘icked out’ by cultured meat or meat grown in a lab, so they’ve come up with this term ‘clean meat’ as a way to market it.
“The biggest concern is it implies real meat is somehow dirty, or not clean, so it’s very frustrating and from an industry standpoint we need to push back on that, not use that term ourself, and when we’re asked about it, always challenge the fact that it’s called clean meat.”
Talking about plant-based meat – for example – the Beyond Burger, she added: “There’s a lot of support from activists organizations, and they’re looking for any way at all to drag people away from eating meat or any protein that comes from animals. We’re about consumer choice so we see plant-based as an ‘and’ proposition rather than an ‘or’ proposition.
“We know that we’re going to need to increase the amount of protein we provide in the next 20-30 years, it’s going to have to double, so we see plant-based protein as an alternative – not an alternative but an addition – to real protein that comes from animals. We’re not afraid of it.”
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Plant-based meat is currently offering the most competition to traditional animal flesh, with clean meat yet to hit shelves. It has seen its profile rise in both the US and Europe recently, with its products being sold in the meat aisle alongside animal protein.
From August, Tesco will be the second British retailer to sell a plant-based product in the meat aisle, with the UK launch of the Beyond Burger.
The patty, which will be available in 350 stores across the country, will be sold in two locations instore – alongside traditional animal meat and in the freezer section.
Tesco follows supermarket rival Sainsbury’s, which recently launched Naturli’ Foods’ vegan mince and burger products in its meat section.