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What’s the Beef with Vegan Options?

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock (wouldn’t blame you, the world’s a scary place), you probably know that so far, 2020 has been a pretty big year for veganism. And it’s only been like a week.

Image result for veganuary
I’m a sucker for a good pun.

Greggs launched their vegan ‘steak bake’ (which people actually queued for, get a life like), KFC have added a vegan burger to their menu, and Boojum have announced a new meat-free filling with promises of more plant-based alternatives to come. Costa have also announced that their coconut, almond and soya milk options are now free of charge. Yepa. Subway and McDonald’s have also added vegan-friendly items to their menus. Maybe Burger King have too, I don’t know and can’t be bothered Googling it, to be honest.

These vegan additions have for obvious reasons, got a lot of praise, good publicity and were welcomed by most people.

Most people.

Basically, as well as all the support and positive messages for these companies and what they’re doing, some people aren’t too happy. Wouldn’t be like them!!

Anyway, one of the big criticisms was that vegan and meat-free products only ever seem to have meat types or connotations in the name. I.E – Vegan sausage roll. Vegan Steak Bake. Quorn nuggets etcetc.

To be fair, I think this is a valid point. I never really got the whole ‘fake meat’ thing, because, surely, the whole point is to not eat meat? Like if you don’t support or like the meat industry, why eat things that are designed to taste and look identical to meat? I don’t know, I just never got the whole Quorn thing, I guess.

But yeah, people were calling out Greggs and the likes for supposedly ‘catering for vegans’ by launching products which typically go against the whole principle of being vegan. Fair enough, like. Why launch fake steak bakes instead of nice sweet potato or lentil pastries instead? What if people don’t like or want to support meat in any way?

Another pointed-out issue was that if vegans were to buy products from these brands, they’re supporting the meat industry by giving money to companies who use a hell of a lot of meat. So like, if you buy from them and give them money, then they’ll get bigger, grow, open new outlets and then use more meat, so more animals will die. 

Which is also pretty fair when you think about it. Their point is, why not give your money to businesses whose policies and practices reflect veganism, rather than just sell a soya sausage roll or fake chicken burger? We’ve all seen those HORRIFYING videos about KFC and McDonald’s *shudders*.

NASTY

But, what if these meat-free additions aren’t just for vegans? Imagine that?! What if they’re for regular meat-eaters who simply want to cut down on their intake, too? What if these “steak bakes” (better name would be ‘fake bake’ but SURE) were targeted at people who eat  steak bakes? Ground-breaking, I know.

Obviously, the whole “why only make vegan options that resemble meat instead of actual vegan options?” and the “supporting companies that use an excessive amount of meat” things are valid points. As I so very well demonstrated, don’t ya think?

But, companies shouldn’t be getting grief for adding meatless alternatives to their menu. At least they’re making some difference and giving people a choice. Vegan sausage rolls are likely aimed at people who actually LIKE sausage rolls (aka: weirdos); it’s not to try to convert everyone to start eating them because they’ve got soya in them.

If you don’t like the meat version and eat them on a regular basis, chances are, you won’t like the vegan one either. Because they are literally designed to taste the same. Do you see the point here?

These companies that use A LOT of meat, are producing more products that are meat-free, so the companies are in theory using less meat. So, isn’t that a good thing? The whole “vegan” label puts people off actually eating less or no meat/dairy. This way, people aren’t too committed and can enjoy the stodgy food even more knowing that animals weren’t harmed in the making of it. Commitment-phobes, REJOICE.

Anyway, that’s this week’s rant over. Moral of the story: ADD MORE SWEET POTATO AND LENTIL OPTIONS, THANKU BYE. 

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