Eating 'real' meat obsolete?

Is 'fake meat' and meat alternatives the future of food?

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Fake meat: are meat alternatives the future?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

Vegetarianism and veganism are on the up, and the food that they can eat is also expanding.

More meat alternatives and even fake meat are available on their plates.

Some argue that in the next few decades, it will become "old-fashioned and barbaric" to eat.

However, others believe the alternatives are not as good as the real thing.

The Claim

The Guardian's Arwa Mahdawi asks if eating meat will one day be both wrong and obsolete. By 2050, she says there will be a good chance that it will be "socially unacceptable" to eat meat.

She argues: "In the same way that we’re now horrified people used to smoke in offices and airplanes, we’ll find it almost unthinkable that people used to consume animals so casually and frequently."

With the rise of plant-based meat alternatives, and even lab-grown or cell-based meat, Mahdawi says it will become "increasingly difficult for people to justify choosing the animal alternative".

She asks why would you choose the "crueler" option when a meatless burger, for instance, tastes almost or exactly like the real thing.

She adds that meat that comes from animals will "eventually seem old-fashioned and barbaric".

Mahdawi concludes: "As the impact of the climate emergency becomes impossible to ignore, eating meat will be increasingly seen as selfish and socially unacceptable."

The Counterclaim

However, the South China Morning Post's Andrew Sun makes a case against meat alternatives, saying it is "like painting a minivan red and calling it a Ferrari".

He argues: "Making one type of food look like another might be a fine one-time novelty, but to order such imitation grub on a regular basis smacks of a kind of denial.

"It’s like saying you’re over your old girlfriend, but then you consistently date other women who look exactly like her."

Sun says that there is nothing wrong with chefs creating culinary illusions by playing around with food, but he cannot accept "their relevance to any kind of authentic cuisine".

He concludes: "Ultimately, the experience of eating a good vegan burger, even a really good one, reminds me of a really good drag queen show.

"The performers may look, sound and move like Tina Turner, Cher and Lady Gaga, but alas, they are not.

"And however enjoyable the impersonators are, I would still prefer the real thing."

The Facts

The most recent research about veganism came from 2016, which indicated that were around 540,000 vegans in Britain.

In 2006, there were only 150,000 people who identified as vegan, meaning there were three and half times as many vegans over the course of a decade.

According to the Vegan Society, the UK launched more vegan products than any nation last year. It found that demand for meat-free food increased by 987 per cent in 2017, and in the following hear, going vegan was predicted to be the biggest food trend.

It is predicted that 2,000 people are giving up meat and ‘going veggie’ in Britain every week.

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