The Center for Consumer Freedom ran a Super Bowl commercial alleging that plant-based meat alternatives are not as healthy as consumers think. The group describes itself as a nonprofit “devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices” and is funded by food industry players “from farm to fork.”
In the commercial, a spelling bee contestant is asked to spell the word “methylcellulose,” which the judge defines as “a chemical laxative that is also used in synthetic meat.”
Methylcellulose, a tasteless powder widely used as a food additive and as a thickener in cosmetic products, is listed on the ingredient labels of plant-based meat products made by both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. A 2018 post by Mayo Clinic said there is no evidence that using fiber supplements like methylcellulose is harmful.
Impossible Foods strikes back
Impossible Foods retaliated by releasing its own parody of the advertisement: a spelling bee contestant being tasked by the judge, played by Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown, to spell the word “poop,” saying, “There’s poop in the ground beef we make from cows.”
[Editor’s note: There is no fecal matter in ground beef.]
A spokeswoman for Impossible Foods said …. that the original commercial is part of a “disingenuous, misleading and shameless disinformation campaign.”