“Meatier” Meatless Foods Target Non-Vegetarians
Would you eat less meat if veggie burgers, fake turkey and faux hot dogs tasted more like, well, hamburgers, turkey and hot dogs?
The food industry is working on it. The Wall Street Journal reports that so-called “flexitarians” — that is, folks who are concerned about their health but do like to indulge in some animal protein from time to time — are being targeted to join vegetarians in the meatless world.
The company behind Tofurkey is offering a veggie hot dog with “more bite”; Boca Foods has a veggie burger out with more “natural hamburger flavor”; and Lightlife Foods is coming out with frozen soy-based entrees with names like “Amaz’n Asian Sesame Chik’n.”
“These names put a friendly face on these items so they don’t seem scary to meat eaters,” Phil DeWester, Lightlife brand director, tells the Journal.
Meat eaters might disagree: it’s not the names that are scary, but the texture and taste of the products that can be terrifying. Although, personally, we do kinda dig Gardein’s new slogan: “Cheat on meat.”
But the new marketing campaigns and flavors may be working. According to the Journal, sales of packaged foods marked “meatless” or “meat-free” increased 21 percent in 2011 over 2010, with sales of meat substitutes rising 10 percent from 2008 to 2011 — even though only 5 percent of us are vegetarians. On the whole, the newspaper adds, Americans will eat an average 10.4 percent less meat this year than they did back in 2007.
So, yeah, it seems people are willing to “cheat on meat,” but with all this effort to make non-meat taste like “real” meat, we’ve gotta wonder why a non-vegetarian wouldn’t just reach for a delicious, good old-fashioned burger, chicken breast or brat. Speaking of which, who’s grilling tonight?
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