Which came first. . . ?

So, in case you haven’t been paying attention, there are some amazing new vegan food products on the market. And when I say “new,” I really mean “new-ish” and not “BRAND NEW” in an amazing-I’m-breaking-news-here sort of way. The Blonde an I have ben lucky enough to use two of them, and we those are the two I’m going to talk about today.

Are you familiar with the vegan egg replacement called The Vegg?

The Vegg is a vegan egg yolk replacement that is eerily like an egg yolk. We’ve only tried it twice, and the first time was a complete failure. Mostly my fault. . . The Vegg is meant to be an ingredient in stuff, and it will not make scrambled Veggs. IT just kind of thickens and turns gloppy if you cook it alone. We tried. . . The second time it was much better. We used it as a base for a tofu scramble, and it became a little creepy how much like an egg it tasted. The Vegg’s ingredients are listed right on their website, (Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Sodium Alginate, Kala Namak, Beta-Carotene) and if you go digging, you can probably find the proportions too, but it’s basically two thickeners, an Indian black salt, and coloring.

The kala namak is really the key, though. This Indian slat has enough sulfur in it that you can clearly smell the eggy smell in the bag of powdered Vegg.

A little creepy for vegans? Yup. Incredibly convenient for when you’re making an egg-less salad or quiche that you’ll be sharing with omnivores? Also yup!

Well, which did come first, The Vegg, or Beyond Meat Chicken? In this household, it was Beyond Meat first, but that’s probably because we live in Maryland and it’s a Maryland company.

If you haven’t had Beyond Meat, you’re missing out. Because we’re lucky, we’ve had access to Beyond Meat at Roots Market, a local natural foods grocery store, for a while, so we’re pretty familiar with it. It costs about the same as organic chicken, so if as an omnivore you were concerned about both the quality and the price of the food you were eating, this is pretty comparable. I’ve seen it in “grilled” and “barbecue,” and both are really pretty good.

Here’s the problem with Beyond Meat being so chicken-like. You can’t really tell that it’s not chicken.

Now don’t get em wrong, that’s a great problem for a vegan meat manufacturer to have. My sisters-in-law had a little trouble differentiating when we brought it over, and they were just eating it out of the container. We hadn’t made chicken salad or cooked it in anything, we just popped the top and offered it.

However, did you hear not too long ago about the mix up at Whole Foods, where they accidentally mis-labeled vegan chick’n salad and non-vegan chicken salad? You know why no one noticed it as they were eating?

Because it was Beyond Meat.

When a product is mimicking something, and the consumer can’t tell which is which, it leaves us far more open to errors like this. “Oops” is not a word I want to hear around my food. Ever.

Mind you, I’m still going to eat Beyond Meat, and we’ll still use the Vegg as we prepare things that once called for an egg. I mean, they taste good, so, it’s a no-brainer. But even still, in the back of my head is a little voice asking me how close can vegan products can get to animal products, and what will that mean? Will we no longer have to reply to “where do you get your protein?” when these products become so mainstream that everyone is familiar with them? But, won’t we have to then respond to “If you want something that tastes just like chicken, why not eat chicken?”

Am I being paranoid? Sometimes I can’t tell. . .

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~ by VegansHusband on May 27, 2013.

5 Responses to “Which came first. . . ?”

  1. Man, we just got Beyond Meat for the first time a month ago and it really is amazing. And when in something I certainly couldn’t differentiate. I had a similar problem when we were on vacation and had a pizza made with Match Meat Italian sausage. I was seriously freaked out that they actually gave us meat. I couldn’t tell at all. That’s kinda creepy.

  2. If I were asked “If you want something that tastes just like chicken, why not eat chicken?” I would ask, “Why kill someone to get a texture that I can get from a plant?”

    Food is so deeply rooted in family, culture and our personal histories and there is no shame in “missing” something we grew up with. How lucky are we that mad scientist/geniuses are making compassionate versions for us? Veganism rocks! 🙂

    • How do you do that? How do you take the ideas that I have about food and compassion, and roll them together into such a nice, neat little package?

      Grrrr. . . . I’m jealous.

  3. Not heard of Beyond Meat, but I agree. I don’t like anything that perfectly mimics the real deal. Just too weird.

    We have served Soy Curls as a texture-only sub to peruse some favorite BBQ sauces. I AM in Texas, after all, the BBQ Capitol of the world! I like to bring that dish to pot lucks (really screws with people’s minds who think they’re eating pulled pork only to find out the vegan girl brought it).

    It’s also nice to tempt my kids’ lunchroom friends to “the Dark Side” with what Mom put in their thermoses. Nothing wafts quite like BBQ does in close quarters; my kids deserve a break from the ribbing they normally get with their tacos, sushi and miso, or salad combos. (Meat-eating kids are way worse than their adult counterparts.)

    We use the Vegg (love our tofu scramble!) and I bake with Ener-G exclusively. There’s just no need to eat eggs, unless your happy, healthy flock is just flowing over with them.

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