Artificial meat is one step closer to joining the ranks of beef, chicken, and other mainstream protein sources. As The New York Times reports, corporate giant Tyson now owns a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat, a food company that specializes in meat substitutes engineered from plant products.
Patties sold under the Beyond Meat label aren’t your typical veggie burgers. When slapped on the grill, the exterior becomes dark brown and the inside stays pink and juicy (they’re often described as burgers that “bleed”). They also produce a line of convincing Beyond Chicken strips that have made a believer out of self-professed carnivore Alton Brown.
Unlike other vegan products made with tofu, tempeh, or other meat substitutes, Beyond Meat foods are formulated to mimic texture as well as taste. Ingredients like pea proteins and vegetable fats are folded together to create something reminiscent of the fibrous, toothsome consistency of meat—a quality that’s sorely missing from most vegan products on the market.
The Beyond Burger has already found success at Whole Foods, but this latest investment could help the product reach a wider market. Michele Simon of the Plant Based Foods Association tells The New York Times this is the first she’s heard of a major traditional meat producer taking stake in a plant-based company. Tyson is the largest meat processor in America, accounting for 24 percent of the U.S. beef packing industry in 2014. Their interest in alternative meat indicates a shift away from viewing vegan food as a specialty health item towards treating it as, in Beyond Meat’s own words, a “mass-market solution.”
[h/t The New York Times]
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