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Meat wars: Cattle industry fears dwindling sales as Impossible, Beyond burger popularity grows

| | August 27, 2019
meat
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

For decades, veggie burgers were the token offering to vegans at the backyard barbecue, and Tofurky was the Thanksgiving benediction to the meat-free loved ones in our lives.

But as plant-based meat goes from an afterthought to a financial juggernaut that aims to change how most people eat, the opposition has suddenly awakened: Many of the country’s 800,000 cattle ranchers have declared war on newcomers Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, which use technology to make products that hew closely to the taste and texture of meat, and now “first-generation” veggie burgers and similar products are caught in the crossfire.

In 2019, officials in nearly 30 states have proposed bills to prohibit companies from using words such as meat, burger, sausage, jerky or hot dog unless the product came from an animal that was born, raised and slaughtered in a traditional way.

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This isn’t quite a David vs. Goliath fight. The cattle associations have enormous political power, and several of the top veggie brands such as Morningstar Farms and Boca are owned by food giants such as Kellogg and Kraft Heinz.

Traditional animal agriculture is looking to the lessons learned by the dairy industry, which saw cow’s milk sales dwindle by $1.1 billion [in 2018], much of that business scooped up by alternative milks such as almond and oat.

Read full, original article: Veggie burgers were living an idyllic little existence. Then they got caught in a war over the future of meat.

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