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Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods: The New Coke and Pepsi?

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are battling against each other for the top spot in the fake foods industry. Just this week, Impossible Foods raised $300 million in financing, beating Beyond Meat’s recent $241 million take-home. Things are heating up for the vegetable-based faux meat companies, much like the rivalry between Coke and Pepsi, but are their products something you should get behind?

fake meat

Both companies sell alternative meat burgers, designed to look and taste like beef. Impossible Burgers are sold in two popular fast food chains — Red Robin and Burger King. Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger is sold in A&W franchises and in retail stores. The popularity of both brands has skyrocketed — they even have celebrity endorsements. If you’re wondering what they’re made of, both have similar ingredients.

The top five ingredients in the Beyond Burger are water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil and rice protein. The top five ingredients in the Impossible Burger are water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil and natural flavors. Doesn’t sound that bad, right?

Here’s the problem: These fake meat products are highly processed. Ultraprocessed foods are linked to a higher risk of many diseases, including cancer. If processed meat is a well-established contributor to cancer and ill health, what assurances do you have that lab-created GE yeast-derived meat substitutes are any safer?

Unfortunately, creating patented lab-grown meat products is not about feeding the world or eliminating animal suffering. It's about dominating billionaires looking to put patents on the food system. While many view lab-created meat substitutes as the lesser of two evils when comparing it to conventional factory farmed meat that currently dominates the market, taking nature out of the equation altogether is not the answer, especially since holistic herd management is an integral part of the regenerative agriculture equation. Ultimately, creating fake food is not the answer to solving problems with conventional meat.

For health reasons as well as ecological reasons, skip the fake meat alternatives and opt for real food that’s being raised the right way instead. When you do shop for meat, go to a local organic farmer or look for Demeter (biodynamic) and American Grassfed Association (AGA) certifications. Both indicate high-quality, sustainable and environmentally sound food.

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