Speaking at the recent cattle industry’s Summer Business Meeting, senior representatives of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) vowed to protect their sector against “often oversold claims of fake meat products”.
“While meat substitutes have certainly attracted a lot of media hype over the past couple of years, data shows that real beef maintains 99.5% of the retail market vs. only 0.5% for meat substitutes,” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of global marketing and research. “Meanwhile, real beef consumption continues to grow, and even consumers who sometimes choose to buy plant-based alternatives continue to eat real beef as often as they always have.”
Senior vice president of government affairs Colin Woodall focused on the need for the federal government to ensure that beef nomenclature is protected in the marketing and labelling of fake meat. He also pledged that the organization will continue to educate consumers about what exactly is in the plant-based fake meat that is available in supermarkets and restaurants.
“When consumers buy a steak or a pound of ground beef, they’re buying one ingredient: beef,” Woodall said. “But when they buy one particular fake-meat product, they’re buying pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, cellulose from bamboo, methyl cellulose, potato starch, maltodextrin, yeast extract, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract, ascorbic acid, beet juice extract, acetic acid, succinic acid, modified food starch, and annatto. Anyone who thinks that these fake meat products are more nutritious or more natural than real beef is very mistaken, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure people know that.”
Certain US states are currently embroiled in legal battles over the use of meat terms when describing meat alternative products, leading to lawsuits being filed by plant-based food producers.