We live in the year of Faux Burgers. The meatless Impossible Whopper debuted in August at Burger Kings in the United States, while McDonald's called the P.L.T. (Plant, lettuce, tomato) in Canada to see if customers are biting. Beyond Meat, the patty for the P.L.T. , went public in May and became the hottest stock of 2019, raising the company's billions in value. A hedge fund manager compared the enthusiasm for artificial meat with the rage of early investors over Bitcoin.
A new offer is now appearing in this burgeoning culinary niche: The Blend.
It's a boring name for a curious product. The mix of Tyson Foods is made from pea protein, as is the burger from Beyond Meat. Both are delivered in a brown-green packaging. Both are soy-free. However, there is a remarkable difference between the two products. The mix contains beef as opposed to Beyond Burger. The kind of real cows.
The Blend is a new entry in an unlikely market category that has surfaced in recent months: foods that are not all meat, but not really or meat. Hormel unveiled its own gastronomic Mishmash earlier this year as part of the Applegate Organics line ̵
Not just beef that gets a remix. You can rinse your triple-sourced semi-burger with a tall glass of half-almond semi-milk from Live Real Farms, which insists that the new drink launched last summer could be "the purest milk blend ever" – an assertion which is probably true, since it seems to be the first such milk mix. Or complete your amalgam meal with a side dish of Perdues chicken breast and vegetable dino nuggets "Chicken Plus", a mix of ribs, cauliflower and chickpeas, which is the approximate forms of long extinct creatures.
As a conscious or conflicting carnivore, why should it be an appealing solution to eat Planimals – a portmanteau that has not yet adopted any of these companies? Tyson's slogan for The Blend, "Do not change who you are to improve your diet," suggests that there are consumers who want a burger with fewer calories and less saturated fat, but are worried that eating one Vegetarian burgers would mean a significant part of their identity. From then on it is a smooth track to play Hacky Sack on a farmer's market.
As a non-vegetarian, who often eats vegetarian burger, I'm pretty much the target demo for this beautiful new protein category. My colleagues and myself, who make up one-third or one-fifth of the population, depending on the method of counting, are usually motivated by overlapping concerns about health, animal welfare and the environment. We take care of these things, but not enough to do without the consumption of meat. Theoretically, the burger in between is exactly what we were looking for.
Or at least see how a manager of a meat company could arrive at this conclusion. If all these flexitarians want to eat vegetable burger and they should be happy to eat both at the same time. A sandwich that makes the difference – finally the code is cracked! Imagine how the executives of Tyson and Hormel nod in this forward-looking place and contentedly nibble on wieners. (I suppose that is how executives of meat companies behave behind closed doors.)