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Capitalism

September 26, 2020 - Vice

Big Meat Is Selling Veggie Burgers—But It's Still Destroying the Environment

Big Meat Is Selling Veggie Burgers—But It's Still Destroying the Environment
Enslaved cows on feedlot© Photabulous!

As the world's largest meat producers launch plant-based products to compete with vegan start-ups, beware of those greenwashing for profit.

The American supermarket is changing. Dairy shelves are increasingly crowded with coconut yogurts, oat milks, and cashew cheeses, while "meatless" sections eat up more and more shelf space to make way for new options in plant-based burgers, soy "crumbles," and assorted nuggets and sausages.

As shoppers have cut back on animal products—whether due to environmental concerns, health issues, or an ethical stance against animal cruelty—and look for appealing replacements, there's no shortage of companies offering up choices. While dairy alternatives have seen the most stratospheric growth in recent years, meatless options have also seen a surge in popularity as beef and chicken substitutes become more enticing to the mainstream, with a 37.8 percent growth in sales from 2017 to 2019, according to research from the Good Food Institute. From March to May of this year, sales of plant-based meats rose 264 percent over just nine weeks amid a major uptick in home cooking during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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