The Booming Market for Meat Alternatives

White Castle and Fat Burger now feature Impossible Burgers, Del Taco has Beyond Meat on the menu, and Burger King is about to roll out a Beyond Meat Whopper. Hard Rock Cafes in Europe carry a veggie burger now, (though you’d have to skip the cheese to make it a vegan meal), and they expect to offer it in their US locations next year.  As Phil Shainmark, our columnist for The Unlikely Vegan noted recently, “It’s quite possibly the best time to be a Vegan. There are so many amazing choices and places to go.” Even if you’re not a vegan or a fast food fan, the variety of meat alternatives is great news as many grocery stores and regular restaurants have also added plant based options to meet growing customer demand. According to Market Insider, the $14 billion dollar meat alternative industry is expected to grow to $140 billion over the next decade.

For many, the booming market reflects a health conscious trend. Not everybody is a vegetarian or vegan, but most of us are aware of the dangers of eating too much meat.  Red meat consumption has been linked to an increase in heart attacks and strokes, diabetes, cancers, and high cholesterol, and now a new study indicates that other “white” meats may be no better. Simply skipping meat altogether a few times a week can substantially lower the health risks. Not ready to give up meat entirely? There’s a name for that: reducetarianism.

For others, concern for animals or the environment is the primary motivator for eliminating or significantly reducing their meat consumption. The commercial meat industry is rife with stories of horrendously inhumane conditions from raising to slaughtering, and the dangers of ingesting meat that has been treated with antibiotics, growth hormones and more has made it unappealing for many. As for the environment, reducing meat consumption could have a more profound effect on climate change than any other single thing you could do. In fact, embracing a plant-based diet could be key to saving the planet.

Whatever your reason, the major food companies are paying attention. Beyond Meat shares have soared over 400% since going public in May, and Nestles and Tyson Foods have announced plans to develop plant based meat substitutes. Since January, Impossible Foods (which is privately held) products have popped up on menus at chains such as White Castle, Red Robin, Qdoba and Little Caesars, where the Impossible Supreme pizza, featuring Impossible Sausage, is available in three markets in Washington, New Mexico and Florida.

As more people make the switch we should see those roll outs increase across the country, and even more exciting meat substitutes become available. It is, indeed, a good time to be a vegan, a vegetarian, or just someone who cares about the planet.

 


The Unlikely Vegan Rides Again by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

My good friend’s riding club was having an event and I was invited. They were hosting a “St. Paddy’s Day in Summer” event. It was a BLAST, and my friend. (being the main cook for her club), made me vegan shepards pie. I think she used Beyond Beef as the filling, and it was delicious. Here’s yet another entree I LOVED before I became vegan, and really thought I’d never eat again. I can’t express how nice it was to have an amazing vegan version of a food I love.

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Tips for Going Green at Dinnertime

| by Dylan Foster

The idea of switching to a vegan diet is nothing new. Unfortunately, the Western diet centers virtually every meal around meat. This can have harmful long-term consequences, including an elevated risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and more.

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A Year Milestone for the Unlikely Vegan by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

What a year it’s been – or pretty close to a year. I’m not 100% sure I can nail down a solid date. But we’ll call it a year. This Vegan thing has certainly been an adjustment, but now I don’t even think twice about it. And as I go out and do more and more things, I continuously think to myself, “Gods, I’m glad I don’t eat that stuff anymore.” I’ve been to a few new (for me) Vegan restaurants in town. One was VegeNation (S. Eastern Ave. Henderson, NV). The staff were awesome and the food was excellent. I had cauliflower buffalo wings, which I always thought was ridiculous, but it was really tasty.

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Feeding Body & Soul

| by Cheryl Shainmark

If you’d asked me a few years ago whether I’d be following a virtually wheat free, 90% vegetarian — hell, 90% vegan diet, I’d have said, “That’s nuts.” Now I’m likely to say, “That’s raw cashews to you, and by the way, do you know how many recipes you can make with them?” It’s safe to say that I’m not alone in making a big diet and lifestyle change, either. Based on the latest bestsellers, opinion pages in the New York Times , increase in vegetarian and vegan websites and buzz on the Internet, it seems we have reached some kind of “tipping point” toward a radical change in the way we eat and what we will accept from the food industry.

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The Unlikely Vegan Gets His NY Fix by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So, my brother-in-law Dan and I went to NY, and it was an awesome trip from start to finish. My father picked us up at the airport and took us to Royal Palace in White Plains, NY. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth talking about again. Dan and I were famished, so a buffet was definitely the way to go. We loaded up our plates and went to town. The staff there is so great, asking us what we liked and didn’t like, and talking to us about India and where the foods come from when we expressed an interest. I will go there any time I’m in the area. The next day we went to Long Island to see my grandparents, and go to Town Bagel (I needed my NY bagel fix).

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Happy New Year from the Unlikely Vegan

| by Phil Shainmark

While texting back and forth with one of my friends in Texas, we got on the discussion of sandwiches. I was lamenting that one of the only foods I genuinely miss is an Italian combo. Not that stuff you get out west where it’s a little ham and salami and some oil and vinegar (they put mayo on them out here!! MAYO!!) I mean a legit east coast, 10 types of meats with banana peppers and provolone, ITALIAN COMBO (which, if you ever find yourself in Hawthorne/Valhalla, NY, check out Pops Deli. Get menu option C4 – best Italian combo ever). So I was on a quest to get as close as I could to those flavors, and I feel that I’ve come pretty close….

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The Unlikely Vegan Visits New York by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So I went to NY to visit family, and while there I had some GREAT food. Got in on a 7 something flight that evening, and my Dad took me to an excellent Indian restaurant, with a buffet. They had a whole set up for Vegan/Vegetarian food. Not a surprise. But it was nice to walk into a place that wasn’t specifically a VEGAN restaurant, and not only have a ton of choices, but also have meat food for those who want. Yes, yes, I know, I’m supposed to be fighting the industry and trying to convince people that they shouldn’t be eating meat… But, I don’t want to. It’s a stupid move. And no one wants to listen to you tell them all the bad stuff about the food they’re about to eat. (More about this later.)

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The Unlikely Vegan – Part Two, by Phil Shainmark

| by Phil Shainmark

So after another month I can say that this is no longer even an “adjustment,” it’s now just the way I eat. And the benefits just keep coming – my energy levels are higher than they were pre-cancer. Hell, I barely drink coffee in the morning anymore. If I have a cup it’s because I like the taste, not because I need it. I found out this week that there’s a 100% Vegan doughnut place near the only other shop I ever worked at. Gonna have to head over there at some point. It’s not near anything I normally go to, but I LOVE doughnuts, so it’ll be worth the trip.

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