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Whole Foods CEO speaks out about plant-based meat

You’re probably familiar with the well-known grocery store chain Whole Foods. In 2013, they began selling vegan “chicken” strips from plant-based company Beyond Meat. At that time, Beyond Meat was still a startup. Today, their plant-based products, including their staple Beyond Burger patty, are sold in grocery stores as well as several fast food chains and restaurants across the country, including Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC), Tim Hortons, BurgerFi and more.

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Plant-based products have since exploded on the market. While many are praising the fact that alternative meat products are now widely available, the products have also faced controversy due to the ingredients they contain and the way they are made — essentially, in a lab, which begs the question of whether or not these plant-based foods are actually healthy.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently shared his opinion on the subject. On the topic of plant-based food companies, he said, “some of these [companies] that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.” He went on to say, “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods. As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public.”

According to the ingredient list on Beyond Meat’s website, the Beyond Burger contains water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, cocoa butter, mung bean protein, methylcellulose, potato starch, apple extract, salt, potassium chloride, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, sunflower lecithin, pomegranate fruit powder and beet juice extract for color. While the meatless patties are now sold in thousands of restaurants across the U.S., questions remain about its long-term safety for human health.

Industrial agriculture is one of the most unsustainable practices of modern civilization, but is the answer to replace farms with chemistry labs? What do you think? Are you on board with vegan meat substitutes? Or will you be sticking to grass fed meat?

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