Are non-meat burgers healthier than meat burgers? Does it matter?

I suggest that it does not matter, and that the below will not really work.

A public-relations firm backed by meat producers has unleashed a savage marketing campaign that claims plant-based meat alternatives are unhealthy, “ultra-processed imitations” similar to dog food.

The campaign rolled out in recent weeks from the industry-funded firm Center for Consumer Freedom, according to The New York Times. So far, it has included full-page ads and opinion pieces in mainstream newspapers, including The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. All the marketing material raises health concerns about trendy meat alternatives, such as the Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger.

Why? Because it’s not like a Whopper is any healthier than an Impossible Burger. People like my wife don’t eat plant-based burgers because plant-based burgers are better for them; they eat them because they’ve got dietary issues that plant-based burgers don’t exacerbate. Trying to make those people believe that there’s any significant health advantage to eating one instead of the other is, in my opinion, doomed to failure.


  • JustDave says:

    I don’t know, maybe they’re getting closer with their imitation whatever. But in my experience, the major problem with this type of stuff is it mostly just reminds you of how much better the real thing actually is.


    Like if you’ve ever had carob, a pretty fair description might be something that’s almost but not quite completely unlike chocolate. (With a tip of my virtual hat to Douglas Adams.)

  • Luke says:

    An unnatural abomination is not good for you?
    Um, Duh.
    People with horrible digestive issues are not the primary market for these Things That Should Not Be. The main people consuming these loathsome horrors are vegetarian cultists, who publicly proclaim their superiority with respect to health and ethics (based on nothing but their own delusions).
    Such an evil must be opposed.
    Vegetarians are not notably ethical. Their beliefs are not supported by theology or rational inquiry. Their claims of greater health are false. The apocalyptic visions of their fever dreams are false.
    Anyone who evangelizes about the joys of jackfruit deserves only mockery.

    • nicklevi86 says:

      Similar to Big Pharma, I imagine. The “true needs” are such a small market that vanity stuff like the Blue Pills and those Two Stupid Bathtubs are needed to support them.
      The Free Market works when it has the chance, and if we have to indulge a few preening idiots so that The Lovely Mrs. Lane can have an interesting** meal, it would be unethical NOT to sell them the fake burger.
      ** Look, I won’t go so far as to call it a “good” meal, but breaking the monotony of limited diets is important.

  • junior says:

    One of the ads currently showing is for “Edible Dehydrated Zebra Tarantula”.


    With regards to the new “not meat” burgers –

    Great, if you like the taste, or prefer them for some other reason. But it’s also a bit reckless to ignore the fact that this is going to be picked up and run with by the same people who talk about methane emissions from cow farts. I won’t support a ban on the new burgers. But I’m also not going to begrudge the cattle industry getting in some pre-battle maneuvering before the inevitable push to try and force us to eat these things instead of meat.

    • Jon says:

      What junior said. It’s as much about the virtue signal as the product here. The not meat burger is meant to usurp the original, regardless of whether it destroys the market by doing so.

  • Phil Smith says:

    Before we get our panties in a twist, have any of you tasted one?

    They’re not good. I was in an airport, hungry, and curious, so I tried one. The commercials saying that they’re indistinguishable are just lying. All I could taste was the bun, condiments, and vegetables. And it’s not just carnivores who think that, either. I have a vegan buddy. I tease him mercilessly. I was at a restaurant the other day and they were advertising the ‘beyond burger’; I texted him the image along with a smart comment and he replied “I’ve tried it. Not a fan.”

    I doubt very seriously that it’s going to take off all that much.

    • junior says:

      Might be a taste bud thing, kind of like how some people can’t stand cilantro due to genetics. I’ve never tried the “not-meat” burger myself. But I’ve got a friend who did and liked it. He still thought it was over-priced, though.

  • acat says:

    I mean .. it’s a burger.
    It’s actually a pretty good balance of carbs, proteins, and fiber – if you get the one with the lettuce and onion and tomato and pickle, that is.
    That’s why most working people eat ’em, after all .. you can eat ’em quick, they’re balanced, and they’re tasty.
    If the “Improbable Burger” can manage to hit all of the above, then .. it’ll succeed. If not, then .. it’ll join the McDLT and the Burger King Burger Shots on the ash heap of fast food history.
    p.s. unlike Mrs. Lane, the cat family avoid fast food burgers because gluten (in the bun, sometimes as an additive to the meat) and nightshades (tomato, catsup, mustard, “special sauce”) .. however we will stop at darn near every In-n-Out .. because they’ll serve two patties with pickles and cheese, in a lettuce wrap, right off the menu board.

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