Why shouldn’t vegans eat burgers too?

Why do people assume that vegans & vegetarians don't like or want to eat food that replicates meat - we shouldn't be making it harder for people to move to plant-based diets, writes Emily Muddeman.

Last week I attended The Vegan Society’s Grow Green Conference at The British Library in London. The day was made up of a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions about the need to move to a ‘plant-strong’ farming future. One topic that kept coming up was the rise of meat alternatives, like the Impossible Burger, which claims to taste just like the real deal, and even bleed.

It made me think about comments I’ve heard numerous times that always baffle me, along the lines of “if someone is vegan or vegetarian, why on earth would they want to eat something that tastes and looks like meat?”. 

I don’t understand the logic in this. Not liking meat has got to be one of the least likely reasons that an individual is vegan or vegetarian. The most common motivations for choosing a meat-free diet are in the interest of animals or the environment… neither of which have anything to do with taste.

It’s likely that many vegans and vegetarians once loved the taste of meat. In fact, on one of the panels, we heard from an inspiring man called Sivalingham Vasanthakumar, who after years as a livestock farmer, gave away his flock of sheep to an animal sanctuary as he could no longer deal with sending them to slaughter each year. He confessed that he really loved the taste of meat, but could no longer justify eating it. He now grows vegetables and sells vegan Indian street food in Totnes, South Devon. This is the perfect example of someone who loves meat but chooses not to eat it.

Earlier this month, news revealed that veggie burgers and sausages could be rebranded as discs and tubes under new EU food labelling rules. This is quite clearly an attack on the vegan movement and meat substitutes, and demonstrates the power of Europe’s meat lobby.

It’s so frustrating, because it’s totally counterintuitive to everything we should be working towards in terms of reducing meat consumption, and in turn, helping to meet climate agreement targets.

We need to excite people about the prospects of a plant-based diet and make alternatives familiar and accessible; surely any food that helps with this transition is a good thing?


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  1. You don’t want to be eating anything with soya in unless it’s organic – & even then it could be questionable after glysophate was recently found in Organic pea protien!
    Make your own burgers rather than eating these burgers because The Impossible Burger is a new genetically modified (GM) plant-based product made of GMO soy, which has been shown to cause organ damage in animal studies and has been shown to be significantly different from non GMO soy. The GM ingredients of the Impossible Burger, which includes a genetically modified yeast and GM soy leghemoglobin proteins, 46 of which are undisclosed and untested, are even more concerning to many consumers than the long-term health effects from glyphosate because of the reported immediate allergic reaction potential, which is acknowledged by the manufacturer. The part of the genetically modified soy used in the Impossible Burger has never before been allowed in the human food supply and has not been properly safety tested. The Impossible Burger also contains conventional wheat which, along with soy, is commonly sprayed with glyphosate herbicides as a drying agent before harvesting. The “natural” product also contains potatoes, which may be genetically modified, and could also absorb the chemical through the soil after pre-planting herbicide applications. Glyphosate does not wash, dry, or cook off and was listed on the Prop 65 California EPA list of carcinogens in 2017.

    Glyphosate herbicides have not only been proven to be carcinogenic,but they are also neurotoxic, endocrine disrupting, cause DNA damageand liver disease at ultra low levels, lower than what was found in the Impossible Burger.



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