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Meat Industry PR Campaign Bashes Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Accepted submission by takyon at 2019-12-04 10:15:57

Plant-based burgers are "ultra-processed" like dog food, meat-backed ads say []

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.

One ad posed the question "What's hiding in your plant-based meat?" Another directed readers to take the quiz "Veggie Burger or Dog Food?"

In an op-ed, the managing director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, Will Coggin, labeled meat alternatives as "ultra-processed []" foods and noted that a recent study [] led by the researchers at the National Institutes of Health linked ultra-processed foods to weight gain.

The negative marketing campaign comes amid soaring popularity of meat alternatives, which threaten to slice into the meat market's sales and profits. In recent months, big players in the meat industry had tried a different—some might say hypocritical—tactic to compete with the new comers—that is, they released their own lines of meat alternatives []. Now, the industry wants consumers to think such alternatives are unhealthy.

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