Plant-Based Shrimp Is A Thing, And Real-Meat Giant Tyson Foods Wants A Taste

from Fast Company

Plant-based meat is so last year: The latest animal protein to go green in a big way is shellfish.

Tyson Foods announced today that it’s investing in New Wave Foods, which expects to have a shrimp alternative ready for food-service operators by early next year. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

More here.

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17 Responses to Plant-Based Shrimp Is A Thing, And Real-Meat Giant Tyson Foods Wants A Taste

  1. Sean Distelcamp September 6, 2019 at 4:56 pm #

    Something I find interesting whenever I hear about the newest vegan protein alternative is that it is almost always something that is trying to imitate a traditional protein. The shrimp the article is titled after, the impossible Whopper, plant-based chicken or plant-based meatballs are all vegan food innovations that are trying to mimic existing foods that we are all used to enjoying. This is most likely because it is much easier to market a new vegan food to people if it can be related to something they already know and love. The fact that Tyson is investing in these things means that there must be a market for it. This seems to be good news for the environment as well since there is evidence that the meat industry is a big contributor to climate change. By eating vegan alternatives, we can hope to reduce our carbon footprints.
    One idea that has come to me is that maybe the biggest innovations in environmentally friendly and healthy food will be the ones that do not try to imitate something else. Right now, food companies are trying to create healthier and environmentally friendly foods that look and taste like familiar foods as much as possible. If the food companies ditched this idea for vegan foods, they may be able to better push the boundaries on sustainable options for both the human body and the Earth. Of course, getting people to try this new hypothetical superfood would be very difficult, but if it caught on it could have a huge impact on our diets.

  2. Mikaela Battaglia September 6, 2019 at 5:20 pm #

    The new trend nowadays is to go “vegan”, which means to consume no meat or any animal by products in general. Many people around the world have begun to do this because they are either animal activists, or have learned of the terrible aspect the meat industry has to the environment.This, however, is detrimental to any of the big name companies that rely on selling mean products. Fast-food chains such as Burger King and While Castle rely on their burger, chicken and fish sales to continue to bolster their companies’ wealth and ability to stay active. By including vegan, or “plant-based” alternatives to their popular menu items, they are trying to reach the demand of people who are looking for those exact options for that inexpensive fast-food price. While it is great that these companies are including these alternatives for the vegans, it is really only done for the companies’ financial advantages. I wonder how long this trend will actually last for, because although it is a nice effort to try and help the environment, this is only a small stepping stone into trying to fix a world that we have already begun to destroy.

  3. Kathleen Watts September 6, 2019 at 7:52 pm #

    As conversations about global climate change move to the forefront, people are becoming more and more aware everyday of what they do that negatively affects the climate and what they can do to stop doing that. For example, metal straws and reusable water bottles have been circulating within pop culture, especially among the youth, for the past few years. Sometime last year, a video surfaced of a turtle with a plastic straw in its nose and since then, you can hear someone yell “Save the turtles!” just about anytime a plastic straw is used. In a similar sense, people are becoming more aware of the effects that the meat industry has had on our climate. This has brought a desire for meat replacements, like the one mentioned in this article. See, there’s a disconnect somewhere between what people want to consume in their daily lives and what they should be constantly doing in order to protect the environment that they seemingly so love. People, economically speaking, will only suffer so much of what they are used to before they look for the perfect replacement as a compromise. For this reason, reusable straws and water bottles are perfect because they are functionally the same and the user only has to clean what they otherwise would have thrown out. For many years meat replacements have existed, but most of them are from smaller companies and are just different enough from their muse that people don’t see it as a true replacement.Tyson, as well as the other companies mentioned, are taking complete advantage of this disconnect. There is a huge niche market just sitting there waiting for big companies to take it. If these companies, like Tyson, can grab onto the rope swing, they just might make it into the river of money. If this replacement is as good as is promised, it will be perfect for that average consumer who, like I said before, is only willing to give up so much. There is still one problem though: Tyson will still be selling their normal chicken products. The more of these plant-based shrimp that Tyson sell, the more money they can put into manufacturing that iceberg killing meat they sell. In fact, the production of these fake shrimp has the potential to become just as problematic as the real meat products they put out. You see, they’re not going to change their mode of production, they will continue to hurt the environment as they have been for years, but the vegetarian backlash will be quelled, at least for the time being. See, this is a blatant marketing scheme, not an attempt on Tyson’s side to help clean up the mess they’ve made. In this sense, they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing, assimilating amongst the vegetarians. Hopefully, people realize where they’re putting their money before they buy this seemingly perfect compromise

  4. Anthony Freda September 6, 2019 at 9:02 pm #

    Plant based diets are becoming more and more popular as time continues. New scientific discoveries are favoring plant based diets. People are switching their diets and companies are expanding to accompany these new trends. Popular fast food restaurants including Burger King, White Castle and KFC have all announced plant based or “fake” meat being sold. Tyson Foods announced they are investing in a company called New Wave Foods. They plan to have a shrimp alternate ready for food service by 2020. The shrimp contains seaweed and plant protein which have lower cholesterol. This new trend may be due to the large obesity rate in the United States and environmental impact meat has on the planet. I am personally not a fan of plant based diets. Both of my parents are medical professionals and they do not have an issue with meat based diets. Meat is a great source of protein, iron, and necessary bodily vitamins. Plant based diets are only going to expand in the future with popular companies and fast food chains expanded their food options.

  5. Anthony Vacchiano September 8, 2019 at 8:13 pm #

    After reading this article, “Plant-based shrimp is a thing, and real-meat giant Tyson Foods wants a taste” really just is another for the big food company to make more money. Companies like Burger King goes through different phases of there menus to keep up with there competition because if they did not they would be going out of business. I like how there companies are looking for a new and improved way of eating but people will not stop eating animal protein. People are concerned about how there animal proteins are treated and the environmental impact of meat but in all honestly it is not just the animals that are hurting the environment, people are the biggest impact on the environment. If people are concerned about animal welfare than we should get rid of factory farms and go back to buying local and buy from small family farms. The new plant-based foods is a good source of food to some due to health reason but human evolved eating animal proteins. All in all, I disagree with the plant based diet and it is just another way big food companies can branch out to profit from the newly found source of protein.

  6. Ryan Geschickter September 9, 2019 at 11:11 am #

    After overlooking this article, “Plant-Based Shrimp Is a Thing, and Real- Meat Giant Tyson Foods Wants a Taste” is a truly different take on a similar method that other big companies use. Overall, this is a definite use of how to make even more money on something that is trending in today’s world. There’s different companies like Costco and other big companies that try to buy out the lower in order to keep up with the ever growing competition to keep themselves relevant in modern day society. In my personal opinion, I support that smaller companies with big name products are getting the renegotiation they deserve by being bought out. However, I don’t really like how big companies take advantage and don’t let the smaller company grow into the environment that they are put into. On a positive note, I like how consumers are buying into plant based products to combat the looked down upon, animal proteins . I can see more up standers for the cause of preventing of buying animal protein getting more into plant based protein products. Overall, this is perfect for getting smaller brands into a larger spotlight and preventing one of the larger issues in society in protein based animal products.

  7. Nicole Shubaderov September 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm #

    With the rise of global climate change concerns as well as health concerns throughout the world, people have started turning to alternatives such as plant-based meats or in this case seaweed-based shrimp. In the article “Plant-Based Shrimp is a Thing, and Real-Meat Giant Tyson Foods wants a Taste,” the author, Zlati Meyer, writes that companies such as Tyson Foods, Burger King and White Castle are responding to the rise of interest for this vegan/vegetarian lifestyle and are investing in ways to provide these type of products to their customers. In my opinion, if it tastes good, why not give it a try. The main concern that I have with this, is whether or not these companies and corporations will keep the cost of these products at a low/decent price for the customers to buy at. From personal experience, I have had a lot of my friends turn from veganism/vegetarianism back to meat-eating because the cost of having to buy vegan/vegetarian products was not reasonable for their income. A clear example of this in the fast-food industry would be with Burger King. The impossible whooper costs a dollar more than the regular whopper, but many times people are not willing to spend an extra dollar on a vegan/vegetarian burger when they could buy the regular burger for cheaper. Although this lifestyle may be beneficial for one’s health, for the Earth, as well as for the animals that are not being eaten, if the products are too expensive or are unreasonably priced compared to their meat counterparts, majority of the people would not be willing to pay more for them.

    My next concern is with the quality of the food that would be provided to the customers. An example of this is Burger King. Burger King this year came out with the impossible whopper, which is supposedly a vegan patty that contains no meat whatsoever but tastes and smells just like actual meat. Many critics have attacked Burger King for its impossible burger since traces of meat could be found within the patty during the grilling process. This could potentially discourage its customers from buying the products as well as break the trust its customers give the company. Another issue with quality is the true level of the healthiness of the product. As stated in the article “Why Burger King’s New Impossible whopper Isn’t Totally Vegetarian” by Lyn Mettler, the impossible whopper has approximately the same calorie, fat and protein count as the regular whooper but the impossible whopper contains more sodium and carbs than the regular whopper does. It is these nutritional facts that cause me to be hesitant about such large corporations trying to invest in vegan/vegetarian products. In a way, it reminds me of regular coke and diet coke. Although diet coke may have 0 calories, it contains much more unhealthy additions to replace the calories to have its flavor be satisfactory. This is why I don’t generally trust such “health” foods or drinks because it may be presented as a healthier option when in reality it may do much more damage to the body than marketed to do so.

    Finally, my last concern is about larger corporations using this investment for alternative meats as a scheme to improve their public image. Just like what Kathleen Watts stated in the previous comments, companies such as Tyson Foods will not stop the production of their chicken products since it is the sole reason for their company. The sole reasons for investment in creating fake meat foods are to make a profit off those individuals who want to “help the Earth” or live a “healthier lifestyle” as well as pulling a stunt to get the public to perceive them as a company that is trying to better themselves as well as the environment. Tyson will still inhumanely kill its chickens and it will still cause environmental damages to the earth, even if they are now making alternative meat products. But who is to say that the process of creating these alternative meats isn’t causing pollution or other environmental damages? This is just a theory, but large corporations that try to invest in such products are truly a scam and I don’t believe in them one bit. There have been so many small companies making vegan/vegetarian foods for years but not many people are interested in trying them even if they are healthy and environmentally safe. But now that companies such as Burger King, White Castle, and Tyson Foods are trying to create these products, everyday individuals are willing to try it just because they find it “cool.” I know that it is a company’s main goal to create a profit but without removing the initial cause of such destruction to the planet and our bodies, creating more fake meats will not truly help out our society. It is for these concerns that I find the rise of fake meats and seafood pointless and in a way a scam to make more money and increase sales.

  8. Tyler Abline September 12, 2019 at 1:33 pm #

    I think it’s really smart for Tyson to get on board with the plant-based meat alternative movement. More and more people are starting to become vegan or vegetarian, so it makes perfect sense for Tyson to follow the lead of other companies like Burger King and White Castle by capitalizing on this industry. There is clearly a market for plant-based alternatives so it is a no brainier for food companies to start playing towards to market.
    I don’t have a problem with these companies adding new options, in fact I welcome it as it allows for more options and gives more people the luxury of being able to choose what is in their food. I think it’s very cool how companies are now able to mimic meat based products without actually using meat. If the industry continues to develop it is entirely possible that we will be able to remove some of the undesirable aspects of the industry and make it more environmentally friendly as well as potentially removing or at the very least lessening the need to kill animals for their meat. If it still tastes good it would make sense to start to phase out the need for real meat and instead the industry can start converting to plant based alternatives on a larger scale. I like Tyson’s products so I’m optimistic that they will be able to make a positive impact on the industry.

  9. Corinne Roonan September 17, 2019 at 9:51 am #

    Creating plant-based meats has been a long time coming. As many people are changing to vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, there is a higher demand for this type of products. Although these things may be acceptable to the palettes of vegans and vegetarians, there is no comparison to the real thing. I was a vegetarian for three years and no matter how many different brands of meat substitutes I tried, nothing was the same. I am not even a huge meat fan in the first place, but meat substitutes are nothing to get excited about, especially at their price.
    Many people are attracted to these meat substitutes because it tends to be more sustainable than traditional meat. I’m not going to argue that as a statement because scientifically, that is factual and valid. The change does not need to be from meat to meat substitutes that taste like cardboard, but from massive, inhumane, steroid-induced farming to small-scale, fresh, and moderation-based consumption. If we, as Americans, were to dial back our meat consumption by even a small percentage (many Americans would not be happy about this proposition, but stick with me), the carbon footprint attributed to our meat consumption would decline drastically. This, of course, would not be good news for the large companies that profit from the American dream of meat with every meal. Disregard this as a fact for just a moment, though, and refocus on my proposition. Not everyone can raise and prepare their own meat for consumption, but the good news is that fresh meat is available to everyone, even people in urban areas. Farmers markets with fresh and sustainably sourced meat are never too far away.
    This, though, brings up the issue of the cost of this fresh meat. Fresh meat from farmers markets tends to cost more than frozen meats from grocery stores. This is very obvious when comparing the amount of work put into the production of fresh meat and the amount of work put into the production of frozen meat or meat in grocery stores. Even taking all of these factors into account, the answer to solving these problems does not come in meat substitutes. Even those meat substitutes are highly processed and do not tend to offer the level of nutrition necessary for people to survive on. The answer truly can only come from personal decision making, which again is not something Americans tend to be fond of. We do not want to spend time reading labels and researching what is the best option for our diets, but that is the only way one can decide what is best for them. There is not blanket choice that is best for everyone, so personal decision making is vital to this process. If someone wants to eat meat substitutes, they can. If someone wants to shop for fresh meat at a farmer’s market, they can. If someone wants to purchase meat at a grocery store, they can do that as well. Not all of these decisions may be good in my opinion, but they are valid decisions, nonetheless.

  10. Jessica Romero September 19, 2019 at 10:21 am #

    I enjoyed reading this article very much, although I myself am not vegan I genuinely respect the food industry for looking into vegan options. It’s a genius idea, they are expanding their clientele especially with the new trends of veganism portraying a healthier lifestyle as well as reducing our carbon footprint. Companies are making more money, according to CBS News they are predicting that the alternative meat market can be worth up to $35 billion dollars. I’m personally a fan myself of the impossible meats, they are very identical to meat and they do taste similarly. I believe that we need to limit our red meat intake, for our health and for the environment. Limiting dairy intake would also benefit both sides, which is why there are so many dairy-free options as well, such as oat milk, almond milk, coconut milk, and these same companies all make vegan cheeses. I’ve seen the food industry follow this healthier plant-based lifestyle as well. Tyson is incredibly clever to jump on the bandwagon early on, especially with vegan shellfish being fairly new in the industry. I don’t feel as though by incorporating vegan options this will hurt companies rather, they will help them. Most companies like White Castle, Burger King, and Qdoba have introduced these items to their menu, but most start off by saying it’s only there for a limited time. These items can stay on the menu until the fad fades, or until they notice a decrease in sales. Similar to seasonal menu items these companies test the waters and see their results which determines the aftermath of whether they keep the items or not. Being environmentally friendly is also an addition that most consumers would enjoy because making plant-based meats use less land, water, and produce fewer greenhouse gases. The health benefits are phenomenal as well, they have more fiber, nutrients, and less fat. All in all, I think it is a respectable idea for food companies like Tyson to test their market and being open to expanding their company. It doesn’t hurt to try new things and if it doesn’t catch on then they drop it that’s just how the industry works. Fads come and go similar to the fashion industry and they have to keep up with trends, whether it’s taking their current customers expanding their taste buds or simply by getting new customers. These are billion-dollar companies and they can’t grow without change, it’s not like they don’t have the money to invest in these newer trends, and they certainly can take a loss if it comes to that.

  11. Jackson Beltrandi September 27, 2019 at 11:36 am #

    Most every restaurant I have been to since this summer has offered a special new “burger”, the Beyond Meat burger. This company offers a new meat alternative which is solely plant-based. It cooks and tastes like a real burger, but is not genetically modified. Many large companies have caught onto this new vegan-friendly burger, where there is clearly a market for. Burger King is taking advantage of a new market, getting their hands on any money they can get. I think that this a big step for the vegan community and major fast food chains. Once other companies like McDonald’s and KFC and Popeyes see that there is a market for burgers made solely from plants, they will want to start selling this type of burger, essentially creating a whole new market that the food industry has never seen yet.
    In addition to fast food stores, companies that sell inside of grocery stores. As stated in the article, Tyson Foods has expanded into even making plant-based shrimp – the first of its kind. Honestly, I have no idea how they can create a shrimp lookalike which is made out of seaweed and plant-based protein, but if it is a healthier alternative, it is worth it for many businesses to get involved into this market. Many people are switching over from traditional meat to plant-based alternatives because of its environmental impact and animal activists obviously think this is a great idea. Time magazine says that traditional burgers are a great source of protein, iron and vitamin B12, but they have a lot of fatty meat, red meat, and sugary elements.
    The Beyond Meat burger has 20 grams of plant-based protein. A standard 8oz meat hamburger has around 34 grams of protein. Now, what is the difference between protein, and plant-based protein? Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are required for a lot of bodily functions to work properly. Plant-based protein is made up of very few amino acids, but also lack many of the health hazards (fat, cholesterol) that real meat might contain. The choice for which type of protein to eat is up to the person, if you want to build up muscle, eat a real meat burger. If you need to watch out for your health, especially your heart, plant-based meat might be the best choice for you.

  12. Hannah F October 9, 2019 at 12:42 pm #

    Plant based food has been very popular in the past year. Many food brands and some fast food chains have already come out with plant based meat. Now the new plant based food that has come out is shellfish. Tyson Foods investing in a company called New Wave Foods is very unique because they would now sell meat products as well as shellfish. This gives the customers more variety in purchasing products from the company. The new plant based shellfish is supposed to be nutritious and have few calories and not a lot of sodium. This is very attractive for people that are interested in not only being vegan but also people who are looking for a healthier lifestyle.
    I personally have never had any plant based meat, but I have seen companies advertise it for the past few months. I would be interested to try it, but since it is very new, I do have some hesitation. I have always like Tyson products, so if they create their own plant based food brand I would be willing to try it.

  13. Sarah I October 11, 2019 at 8:43 pm #

    Plant based diets are becoming more and more socially acceptable in our society today. As people are becoming more aware of the chemicals in their processed meats, they are trading in their carnivore diets for a more plant based options. We are becoming more health conscious as a society and this drives us to step back and think about how we are fueling our bodies. Tyson’s decision to invest in New Wave Foods was a smart business decision. It helps them enter a market they weren’t previously in. Tyson is known for its production of meat and chicken, which only markets to those who eat meat. Now, they can spread into the market to target vegetarians and vegans. This business strategy allows Tyson to be involved in the majority of consumer food markets. A Fox News article stated that 52% of Americans are trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet. (https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/third-of-americans-consider-themselves-flexitarian-willing-to-embrace-more-plant-based-diet-options-survey-finds). This investment not only allows Tyson to target non-meat eaters, but also to those looking to add more plant-based foods into their diet.
    Corinne made a very interesting point in her comment above when she said, “The change does not need to be from meat to meat substitutes that taste like cardboard, but from massive, inhumane, steroid-induced farming to small-scale, fresh, and moderation-based consumption. If we, as Americans, were to dial back our meat consumption by even a small percentage (many Americans would not be happy about this proposition, but stick with me), the carbon footprint attributed to our meat consumption would decline drastically.” I find this interesting because we know that 52% of Americans are trying to incorporate more plants into their diet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are dialing back their meat consumption. If you eat chicken nuggets everyday and just add in a veggie burger or vegetables throughout your day, you are adding more plants to your diet, but your meat intake is not decreasing. We need to start decreasing our meat intake if we want to make a positive impact on our nutrition and carbon footprint. Tyson’s investment in plant-based substitutes is just the start. If each of us make small changes to our nutrition everyday, it can increase our health and bring our environment back to the way it was supposed to be.

  14. Rav Gill October 14, 2019 at 10:27 am #

    Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if we didn’t eat chicken, pork, beef or ham? I honestly don’t know because chicken is a big part of my diet to get protein in. On the other hand, I can definitely imagine life without seafood. But what benefits would it give to the ocean and to us? Tyson, a large meat and chicken corporation is going to be investing in the plant-based business. Last month it announced that, “… it’s investing in New Wave foods, which expects to have a shrimp alternative ready for food-service operators by early next year” (Plant based shrimp is a … taste) which comes from a new start-up. The shrimp is made with “sustainably sourced seaweed and plant protein” which is another way of saying it’s super organic. With the way the world is going towards being healthy all the time and eating organic things, I think this is a huge investment opportunity and will give them an increased market position. With seafood and any kind of food that has sodium in it, you do have to be careful about the sodium levels because high levels of sodium are dangerous for us. Though Tyson is investing in this, they have to be careful because they have been in this area before and it didn’t work out for them. It “… ventured into the plant-based space before. In 2016, … the food giant invested in Beyond Meat; it sold its share earlier this year” (Plant based shrimp is a … taste) because it wasn’t a successful investment. This area in the industry is pretty new though many companies have been testing the food earlier, however, it is at the point in time where its new and enticing but it has a lot of competition since everyone wants to try it. Already established restaurants, local chains, and other locations have to be given a good deal to try out these plant based products because they are the ones who will push these products and generate profit. Red Lobster’s CEO said that “… he has no plans to add it to the menu…” (Red Lobster … Menu) even though he likes to eat healthy and pushed the fact that his restaurants offer healthy and high quality seafood already. Many Americans are heading towards the plant-based industry and as another commenter said, “This investment not only allows Tyson to target non-meat eaters, but also to those looking to add more plant-based foods into their diet” (Commenter). I agree with her because Tyson can take this investment into such a successful business expanding and profit generating move.

    And, it is amazing how quickly other chains like Burger King, White Castle, Dunkin and others are incorporating plant-based products into their menus. However, due to the thinking of these older chains, many of them are not budging when it comes to taking advantage of an opportunity to attract new customers. According to the Red Lobster article, “… Arby’s announced their intentions to never produce a plant-based meat product on their menu…” (Red Lobster … Menu), which would make them one of the many places to not want to adapt to a new trend. Chains like Red Lobster and Arby’s are missing out on a chance to expand their menu to attract new customers who want to go out and eat healthy things. I mean I would be willing to try a plant-based product, whether it be seafood or meat because if it’s healthier than I’d rather go that route. So many companies are embracing this change like “… Burger King is selling an Impossible Whopper, … White Castle offers a meatless version of the iconic slider” ((Plant based shrimp is a … taste) and IKEA and KFC are going to launch experiments to test out how they can add this to their menus. The interest in this new trend has grown because people want healthy food, are worried about how animals are being treated and the environmental impact of meat (Plant based shrimp is a … taste). A study was conducted on the big impact of meat on the environment and it was found that “… factory farming in the U.S. gets a lot of criticism for its cruelty, the danger it poses to public health through the overuse of antibiotics and the pollution it causes to air and water” (The Triple Whopper … Production). However, it may cause some damage, but it is an efficient process, as well. The global appetite and global population is growing and to fulfill the demand, these companies have to do what they can to satisfy. To every decision we make, there is always an offset, however, I think plant-based products might be a good compromise.

    https://www.fastcompany.com/90399811/plant-based-shrimp-is-a-thing-and-tyson-foods-wants-a-taste?partner=feedburner&utm_source=feedly&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feedburner+fastcompany&utm_content=feedburner

    https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/red-lobster-ceo-plant-based-seafood-terrible

    http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/

  15. Alyssa Bromke October 14, 2019 at 3:31 pm #

    Plant based meat alternatives could be the future of cuisine. Looking at the overpopulation of the world as a whole and the amount of mass production of animals, something needs to change. It is important that we as the human population, start taking care of our environment and sustainably source food. The way that chickens and cows are kept for the purpose of breeding to eat is unnatural and harmful to animals and those who eat those animals. If the purpose of cultivating food this way is to make enough food for the population, why are we not trying to look for other food that could also assist in making food more available to people. Not only are the ways that chickens and cows are kept a problem but also overfishing is also a problem. There have been so articles and notices released that overfishing is also becoming a problem because we are not allowing the fishes to repopulate in order to continuously fish. If you take that a step further, once we are able to modify this and breed the fish in order to eat, that is when seafood will also join chickens, pigs and cows inhumane treatment, if it has not already become that way.
    This article proves that there are companies, like Tyson, who are willing to start looking outside of the normal seafood, chicken, pork and red meat and start looking at other solutions such as plants. The combination of plants and animals can sustain the population. But I believe we, as a population, rely too heavily on meats rather than plants. I think that there is a balance that can be achieved by replacing certain meats with plants. The more companies decide to test new more sustainable food sources, perhaps with plants, the better. There is more ability with plants to tightly pack growing plants into things like greenhouses than the ability to do the same with animals. If companies have to “trick” the consumers into eating plants by making it taste like meat then that may be the best course of action. I use the word trick loosely because they should obviously be packaged, handled and labeled correctly, but I think that it would be possible to replace meat with a meat flavored product, as long as it is a healthy alternative.

  16. Nicholas A.P. November 7, 2019 at 9:59 pm #

    Tyson is making a very smart move in doing this, given the trends in the contemporary food market. An article written by Adele Peters for Fast Company says that about “…30% of American consumers now say that they’re reducing their meat consumption, and 32% consider themselves flexitarian.” (1) According to google a “flexitarian” is someone who “a person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish.” Utilizing some quick math we can determine that 32% of Americans would equate to about 96 million people. That means, there are plenty of buyers for alternative meat products, like plant based shrimp. In addition to that, this trend makes even more sense given the popularity of alternative diets in conjunction with a rise in allergies, like celiac disease. With a brief glance at Google Trends it is possible to see that the amount of people searching for “vegan diet” is at a high for the year and is only increasing (2).

    While the industry is on the come up, it is not competition-free. Tyson will have to deal with two large competitors in the space, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. The question remains, though, is this all a fad? After all, in our all too recent history, Americans have adopted strange diets ranging from restricting oneself to eating cabbage soup for every meal of the week in the 1950s to the popularity of slimfast, a diet shake for breakfast and lunch with a regular meal for dinner, in the 1970s. I still have yet to hear conclusive evidence about whether or not a vegan diet is healthier than an omnivorous one, or if an “impossible burger” is better for people than a common beef patty burger.

    Dietary trends aside, there are also environmental and sustainability concerns that drive companies to create plant-based meat replicas. Cows, in particular, take up a lot of acreage to raise, and they also emit a considerable about of methane into the atmosphere. According to The New York Times article linked below, a France-sized portion of what used to be Brazilian rain forest is now dedicated to grazing cattle (3). If it takes that much space now, and Earth’s population continues to grow as it is, maybe it’ll be necessary for the majority of people to turn to plant-based proteins, as it might be infeasible to produce enough meat for everyone should the population on Earth exceed, say, 12 billion people (that number is arbitrary, I am no statistician or geologist). Some scientists actually do believe this, and they’ve been trying to develop meat that is grown in a lab (4). Personally, I find the thought of that to be repulsive, but maybe with the right marketing campaigns, lab grown “meat” will be common in supermarkets. So, is an investment from Tyson into bringing plant-based “shrimp” to the masses simply a fad, or is it a step toward mass produced lab grown meat becoming a staple in American supermarkets? Using investor enthusiasm for companies that specialize in alternative protein products as a guage, I would say that alternative and plant-based protein products are here to stay.

    (1)https://www.fastcompany.com/90347902/can-plant-based-meat-grow-from-a-1-billion-industry-to-a-20-billion-industry

    (2)https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=vegan%20diet&geo=US

    (3)https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/opinion/the-myth-of-sustainable-meat.html

    (4)https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47611026

  17. Mia Ferrante November 8, 2019 at 12:35 pm #

    Plant-based substitutions for everyday foods are becoming more and more popular today particularly in fast-food restaurants. As mentioned in the article, franchises such as Burger King, KFC, and now Dunkin’ Donuts have started incorporating plant-based options to their menus to better control health, animal welfare, and the environmental impact of meat.
    Although it cost more to produce, I think a plant-based shrimp would give people who are willing to pay for the product more options that are healthier. However, I’m not sure if they would be able to perfect the taste so that it tastes like shrimp. Another common imitation seafood is imitation crab. Imitation crab is made from surimi which is fish flesh that has been deboned, washed, and then minced into a paste. While imitation crab is made from seafood, it generally contains no crab other than a tiny amount of crab extract that is sometimes added for flavoring. I think if Tyson Foods invests in the plant-based shrimp they will have the problem of the actual taste of shrimp not matching the plant-based one. This could be solved by adding shrimp extract to improve the taste, but it would no longer make the product entirely plant-based.
    Plant-based shrimp also can help improve the economy. The economy would not benefit tremendously right away, but in the long run, it would make a difference. Even though it cost more produce, plant-based products on the market generally cost more for consumers anyway so I’m sure Tyson Foods would not be afraid to increase the price of the product to make a better profit. This would also allow other restaurants that use actual shrimp to add other options to their menu.
    Recently Dunkin’ Donuts announced its plans for a change in its menu including its highly-anticipated Beyond Sausage Sandwich to make a step into making plant-based options more accessible to Americans. Dunkin’ is the first nationwide U.S. quick-service restaurant brand to “Go Beyond” traditional on-the-go breakfast choices by serving Beyond Breakfast Sausage. The Beyond Breakfast Sausage patty features 10g of plant-based protein which totals 29% less fat and 33% less saturated fat and fewer calories.

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