'Why I tried plant based burgers for a day'

Opinion: Plant based meat is simply attracting the already converted

Beef
The Beyond Burger was beyond the taste palate of The Land's livestock editor, Lucy Kinbacher. Photo: Beyond Meat

The Beyond Burger was beyond the taste palate of The Land's livestock editor, Lucy Kinbacher. Photo: Beyond Meat

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The Land's Lucy Kinbacher put the burger to the test.

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I was standing in front of the cold meat section of my local grocery store when I was struck with a brainwave that would have made my beef-producing father howl.

I was about to embark on a meatless diet. But before you judge, hear me out.

I was chatting to a sheep producer earlier this year when the topic of veganism and meatless proteins came up.

This very knowledgeable man told me he intended to watch their documentaries and learn their idealism, but why?

In his words, there was no way you could stand for the beef side of the argument without being educated on the opposition's arguments.

The plant based burger patties.

The plant based burger patties.

That statement was running through my head as I stood in the shop that day.

I'm not sure if it was the icy temperature or a long day at work, but I decided to ditch my traditional steak and vegetable dinner one night and buy The Beyond Burger.

I hid it in my grocery basket until my plot was unmasked at the checkout.

"Are these any good?" the attendee asked. I was quick to respond that I was in fact a bush kid who grew up on a staunch meat diet but had been swayed by the 50 per cent off ticket price to experiment with my taste buds.

I eventually built up the courage to cook the alternative patties. It might not consist of any real meat but The Beyond Burger fills the void with 22 other ingredients. It is mainly based on water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil and refined coconut oil.

But, it also contains two per cent or less of things like beet juice extract for colour, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, sunflower oil, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract, acids, modified food starch and annatto.

My fate was sealed the moment I broke the packaging. While it looked like meat, and even bled like meat, it certainly didn't smell like it. My nose has only ever sensed such an aroma coming from a can of dog food.

Country kids are taught an important life lesson - don't waste food - so I continued on my experimental journey.

I wish I could say this is the part in the story where things turned around but not even a fresh bread roll, loads of lettuce, cheese and salad could overpower the taste of 20 grams of plant protein.

The Beyond Burger was beyond my taste palate.

I'm not sure beef producers have too much to worry about. Is this form of plant based meat going to rob us of traditional meat consumers or is it simply something that attracts the already converted?

Everything has their place in the market and a spot on somebody's shelf, but mine will stay full of genuine beef for a very long time.

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