So, We Have Reached Peak Vegan Sausage? – vegconomist

So, We Have Reached Peak Vegan Sausage? – vegconomist

This is a story about Beyond Meat’s fourth iteration of its plant-based sausage, how we have reached “peak vegan sausage”, and how these “fake vegan meats” are apparently dangerous for our health.

Beyond Meat today unveiled the fourth iteration of the Beyond Sausage, offering “enhanced flavor and meaty texture while raising the bar on nutrition and earning recognition from leading health organizations”. Like the recent reformulation of the Beyond Burger patty, the sausages are now made with avocado oil and contain 2g of saturated fat per link and 17g of protein per link.

Additionally, the new formula features a 66% reduced saturated fat content compared to the previous version of Beyond Sausage, is certified as part of the American Diabetes Association’s Better Choices for Life program, and comes with a collection of heart-healthy recipes certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check program.

But! The vegan sausage trend may have peaked! And, vegan fake meats are linked to increase in heart deaths!

Aren’t they?

© Beyond Meat

Much has already been said about the recent study published in The Lancet whose findings have been deliberately and systematically taken out of context. Publications across the world took the study’s findings out of context for clickbait headlines, not least the UK’s right wing Telegraph which, as we reported last week, went with the highly provocative headline, “Vegans are slowly killing themselves”, which, by the way, was written by a dairy farmer.

However, in reality, plant-based meats represented just 0.2% of the diets in the study which included packaged baked goods, French fries, salty snacks, confectionery, and even alcoholic drinks which accounted for a larger share than alt meats.

Stella Child, research and grants manager at GFI Europe, said to vegconomist at the time, “Plant-based meat made up just 0.2% of the ‘plant-sourced UPF’ category used in this study, most of which comprised products already well-known to be unhealthy, like cakes, pastries, and biscuits,” she said. “To put that into context, study participants ate 35 times more cake than plant-based meat, and so it’s incredibly unlikely that plant-based meat had anything to do with the results observed.”

Sausages/ Hot Dogs
©The Better Meat Co.

Another Telegraph article from last week titled The hidden health hazards of vegan sausages claimed, “These meatless substitutes contain a litany of highly processed ingredients – and supermarket sales are falling”.

“Vegan sausages contain a litany of highly processed ingredients. For the body of the sausage, pea protein is the main ingredient – the jury is still out on how processed this is compared to the other ingredients, because you can make something similar at home with flour and water,” it states.

“Linda McCartney’s vegetarian sausages have a higher percentage of textured soy protein, while in Quorn sausages, it is mycoprotein, a yeast-like mass grown industrially in vats.”

Let’s take a quick look at this, for all it’s worth.

First of all, there is nothing wrong with pea protein. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Pea (Pisum sativum) is an important source of nutritional components and is rich in protein, starch, and fiber. Pea protein is considered a high-quality protein and a functional ingredient in the global industry due to its low allergenicity, high protein content, availability, affordability, and deriving from a sustainable crop. Moreover, pea protein has excellent functional properties such as solubility, water, and oil holding capacity, emulsion ability, gelation, and viscosity.”

As for mycoprotein: research by a team of scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland shows that mycoprotein is a valuable ingredient: it offers digestible proteins and, unlike meat, dietary fiber. The authors found that mycoprotein increases the presence of beneficial gut bacteria, as opposed to a diet high in red meat, which has been linked to risk factors for cancer.

Let’s not forget, while we’re here, that processed animal meat, such as sausages, bacon, ham, and corned beef, are classified as carcinogenic by the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, and appear in the same risk group for cancer (group 1) as asbestos, cigarettes, and alcohol.

Processed meat is carcinogenic
© Plantbased News

Truth and lies

The Changing Markets Foundation’s investigation, Truth, Lies, and Culture Wars uncovered over a million examples of misinformation surrounding meat and dairy, as we mentioned in our disinformation report here.

As we now well know, the origin of this mis and disinformation is the Center for Consumer Freedom, funded by US lobbyist Rick Berman.

Berman runs a vast network of organizations that advocate for controversial industries. It is claimed that he founded Berman and Company with significant financial support from Philip Morris, a major tobacco company, which provided at least $600,000 to combat anti-smoking laws, as well as receiving millions from businesses in the alcohol sector.

Berman is a lobbyist focused on combating what he terms the “nanny state.” He orchestrates campaigns against various groups, including environmental organizations like PETA as well as various unions.

“The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is a nonprofit corporation run by lobbyist Rick Berman through his public relations company, Berman & Co. The CCF, was set up by Berman with a $600,000 “donation” from tobacco company Philip Morris, says PETA.

According to PETA’s investigation, the Center for Organizational Research and Education (CORE) has now taken over the role of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CFF). The Center for the Environment and Welfare website came online this April, with a focus on smearing PETA and other animal protection groups.

“The Center for the Environment and Welfare represents industries that benefit from hurting and killing animals for profit and has a financial interest in propagating misinformation about PETA’s efforts to help animals,” it adds.

Channel 4 George Monbiot
©Channel 4

The playbook is the same

In a conversation with Elysabeth Alfano this year, environmental campaigner and scholar George Monbiot explained the tactics used by such groups.

“It really is the same playbook and there’s no coincidence about that because in some cases it’s the exact same people who are reading from that playbook. They’re the people who devised some of the tobacco industry tactics who were then hired by the fossil fuel companies to import those tactics into the fight to deny the climate breakdown and to prevent action from being taken. And now the same people are cropping up in the employer of big meat defending the livestock industry against its critics and putting out a plethora of lies”, explained Monbiot.

Back to the sausages.

“Beyond Meat is truly pioneering the future of superior plant-based meat products,” said Joy Bauer, renowned registered dietitian, #1 NYT bestselling author, and Beyond Meat nutrition advisor, on the new, ultra healthy iteration of the Beyond Sausage.

Will these new healthy sausages help to stop the tirade? Unlikely.

Has the “vegan sausage trend peaked”? Also unlikely.

Will we stop fighting back against the disinformation? Even less likely. We have evidence, facts, truth, and ethics on our side.

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