beetroot burger
Image: © Jennifer via Wikimedia Commons

Vegan burgers soon to be stocked next to ‘real’ meat in supermarkets

Companies want to make it easier for flexitarians to make the switch

One in four people in the UK now identify as 'flexitarians' – we like meat, we eat meat, but we're trying to eat less of it.

The food industry is taking note, investing more and more in plant-based substitutes – and soon, you'll find vegan burgers right next to beef ones in supermarket aisles.

What it means: Despite growing evidence that reducing meat consumption is good for you and good for the planet, it takes a lot to get people to change their eating habits. We're used to eating meat, we know how to cook it, and hey, it's pretty tasty.

Plus, our governments give about $500bn in subsidies – essentially tax breaks for industries they think are important – to meat and dairy, which lowers the price for consumers (campaigners are now saying we should switch out for taxes instead, and give subsidies to more sustainable foods to make those more financially accessible.)

But meat substitutes are getting better and better – so much so that vegan patty producers are putting beetroot in burgers that changes colour and consistency just like medium or rare steaks would.

And more and more of us are identifying as flexitarian, whether it's for environmental or health reasons.

US company Beyond Meat, one of the main vegan substitute producers, wants to stock their products next to 'real' meat in supermarkets, as part of a push to normalise it. The idea is that people who are used to eating meat at the moment, so probably wouldn't go seek out a vegan substitute, are more likely to give it a go if it's right there next to the chicken and beef.

But the US beef industry is seriously anti: they've filed a petition to say non-animal products shouldn't be allowed to be called 'meat' in the first place. France has already banned allowing non-meat products to be labelled sausages, mince, or bacon.

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