Vegan though he is, and excoriated by me in our recent debate (for saying that eating meat is both morally and ethically wrong), Whole Foods founder and current CEO John Mackey has at least come out against fake meat.
So while we certainly disagree on whether eating real meat is okay, we've found a point of agreement on fake meat. Although his comments contain a big fudge factor, here is what he's quoted as saying in a CNBC report:
“The [brands] who are capturing the imagination of people — and I’m not going to name these brands because I’m afraid I will be associated with the critique of it,” says Mackey, “but some of these that are extremely popular now that are taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.”
According to Beyond Meat’s website, ingredients for its plant-based patties include water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein and other natural flavors, including apple extract and beet juice extract (for color). Ingredients for Impossible Foods burger include water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, potato protein, soy leghemoglobin (a group of protein found in animals and plants) and other natural flavors, according to its website.
“I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods,” Mackey says. “As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public.”
What's interesting, of course, is that even though he doesn't agree with their wholesomeness, he still sells them at Whole Foods. And has been a leading proponent of their sales from day one. If that doesn't smack of intellectual schizophrenia I don't know what does.
Of course, articles about this are rife with the accepted fact that fake meat is better for the environment, healthier for you, yadda, yadda, yadda. This one is no exception. As I've explained many times in these blogs, the comparison is highly selective. Just like the famous China Study on cholesterol, it cherry picked data points to arrive at a conclusion. That's not science; it's agenda driven propaganda. But science is full of that these days, unfortunately.
So, as we say down south, bless his heart for at least questioning the fake meat juggernaut. While I don't shy away from taking someone to task for idiocy, I want to quickly toss a congratulatory bone when he says something wiser. Well done, John.
Does the above ingredient list look more environmental to you than a ruminant pruning perennial polycultures?