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The latest brand to jump on the environmental bandwagon is Aldi, which has started selling patties made from beef and beans as ‘flexitarian’.
Bizarrely, when a vegan pointed out how nuts that marketing move was, she was slammed down.
Laura Paterson, from Nottingham, shared a pic of the burgers to the Aldi UK Facebook group saying: “Flexitarian is not a thing. You either eat meat or you don’t. Don’t use Flexitarian as a poxy bit of advertising to flog your products.”
Of course, Laura has a point; a burger is a burger. It’s still involved the rearing and killing of a cow.
But the outcry at her comments I think are actually really heartening.
Flexitarianism is a thing- call it reducatarian if you don’t like the term
Loads of people who were upset by her point said that they were flexitarians who were trying to reduce their consumption of meat.
In fact, a third of Brits have stopped or reduced eating meat, with one in five describing themselves as a flexitarian.
So clearly, it is a thing – and anything that gets people thinking about what they’re eating and the impact it has on their health and the environment can only be a positive thing.
People don’t like being forced into changing habits – especially not something as emotive as food, so it’d be unrealistic to tell everyone to go cold turkey and become a vegan overnight. But many of us were Flexitarians (even if we didn’t use the term) on our paths to becoming fully vegan in the first place.
Supermarkets are having to listen to a growing voice of concern
While it’s questionable whether many would genuinely choose to buy a chunk of meat marketed as Flexitarian over a standard steak is questionable, it does suggest that retailers are having to work out how to keep up with the growing interest in meat-free or meat-reducing lifestyles.
A year ago, the outcry would have been that a supermarket was ‘pandering’ to alternative cultures. Now, the upset is that someone has dissed the efforts of a significant group of people trying to live more environmentally-friendly lives.
Being annoyed with Aldi is totally understandable. It’ll do anything for a profit and by adding fresh marketing to a product it’s had since day dot, it thinks it’ll seem ultra-woke.
But actually, we need chains like this to worry about their profits. The very fact that they think there’s money to be made by making these changes tells us that we’re slowly winning the battle to change minds and lifestyles. They might be cashing in now because it’s Veganuary and there’s a hyper awareness about diets in January but if Aldi is still flogging ‘flexitarian’ products come June, that shows that it’s not just a fad – people really do want to subscribe to a less damaging way of life.
I call that progress.