How advertisers refer to things is often simply a marketing gimic. Let’s look at the example of plastic and its derivatives. Shoes might be described as man-made uppers, faux leather, simulated leather, artificial leather, fabricated materials, leather appearance, imitation, vinyl, composite or this one — the latest marketing ploy that I read in a catalog — vegan-leather. Doesn’t that beat all?
Well, maybe not quite. Almond “milk” is a close second. Let’s examine this. Look up milk in the dictionary and notice it is defined as coming from mammals. Almonds and soybeans are not mammals therefore the liquid that is extracted from them cannot be milk. Other plants — oranges, grapefruit, cherries — when squeezed produce juice. How did almond and soybean juice come to be called milk?
And it’s getting worse. Now fabricated in a lab from chemicals is a product that so far is being called “meat,” or at least that is what the promoters want it to be called. This year several states passed laws that only animal products can be called meat.
On TechnologyReview.com I found a semi-scientific description of the product. “The pinkish ground meat had been produced in a Maastricht University lab directed by Mark Post, a vascular biologist and surgeon: it consisted of billions of cells cultured from skeletal muscle cells taken from one beef neck, nourished in a warm broth of synthetic nutrients and cow-fetus serum. To get the cells to grow into myotubes, the building blocks of muscle fiber, the researchers reduce the serum in the broth, which causes the cells to stop dividing and fuse. Then they suspend the cells in a gel surrounding a central column that allows them to align and form muscle fibers.”
Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it? Knowing this, vegetarians won’t even eat it.
It goes by several names: meat analogue, meat alternative, meat substitute, mock meat, imitation meat, faux meat, all of which are supposed to cover a consumable that has the same aesthetic qualities such as texture, flavor and appearance of meat from animals.
As an aside, I take exception with one statement in the above referenced website wherein it is stated, “raising livestock is such an inefficient use of land and water.” It is written as if it’s a fact and of course it is not. I often wonder whether people who write such things have ever been outside of a city or more concisely if they have even been to a cow pasture consisting of hundreds of acres. I doubt it. If they had, they would realize that lands where cattle graze are perfectly suited for that use. Many of the acres at one time or another had homesteaders who couldn’t make it on the land due to the arid conditions. One reason the cattle — and the wildlife — do so well is due to the miles of pipelines and many water tanks installed by ranchers. The public should be tipping their hats in appreciation.
Going forward, do solid research, watch out for advertising hype and draw your own conclusions. ❖