Marketing tactics used to convince consumers

As I’ve written before, junk food is based on junk science, or information aimed at driving profits at the expense of your health.

The fake meat industry has taken a page from other corporate interests such as the sugar and tobacco industries.

You may have noticed a cycle some producers have used, beginning with hype and marketing and often ending up in a revelation, sometimes years later, that the products are not as healthy as you were told.

The cycle is lucrative and makes more money for companies than subsequent lawsuits drain.

Vaping products, opioids, sugar-based products, traditional cigars and cigarettes and junk foods are just a few examples of items that haven’t lived up to the hype and marketing strategies.

Meanwhile, millions — if not billions — flow into manufacturers’ pockets.

One of the claims from the fake meat industry, as an example, is that their products are sustainable and leave a smaller carbon footprint than that of traditional beef productions.

When compared to CAFO facilities, where animals are often treated inhumanely, the waste damages to air and water supplies and the administration of antibiotics that contribute to widespread antibiotic resistance, they may have something to complain about.

However, moving from one broken system to another is never the answer.

Regenerative farms produce clean, healthy environments

To help them “prove” they have a better carbon footprint than live animal farms, Impossible Burger enlisted the help of Quantis, a group of scientists and strategists who help their clients take actions based on scientific evidence.

Beyond Meat commissioned the University of Michigan to conduct an assessment and compare the environmental impact of their production to that of typical beef production in the U.S.

The results were similar for both companies. According to the executive summary published on the Impossible Foods website, their product reduced environmental impact between 87% and 96% in the categories studied, including global warming potential, land occupation and water consumption.

In response, White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia, commissioned the same analysis by Quantis and published a 33-page study showing comparisons of White Oaks Pastures emissions against conventional beef production.

While the manufactured fake meat reduced its carbon footprint up to 96% in some categories, White Oaks had a net total emission in the negative numbers as compared to CAFO-produced meat.

Yes, negative.

Also of note, emissions for producing beef at White Oaks Pastures was much lower than the average production of soybeans, the base for plant-based burgers and leghemoglobin.

Quantis also found that White Oaks Pastures beef falls within and even below the range of production of other types of protein sources, including beef, pork, chicken and soybeans.

Additionally, emissions by White Oaks Pastures included a large negative soil carbon sequestration, which I’ve explained in many articles is essential to protecting against air pollution and climate change.

Speaking to Consumer Reports, Friends of the Earth’s Perls added that the hype and advertising around alternatives to natural meat will distract from finding better solutions to environmental problems, and noted the true cost of producing fake meat cannot be known until it’s being produced on a large scale.

These costs include damage to your health as well as to the environment. “Rather than creating new products that require more energy, more money, and more processed chemicals, why not invest in a truly sustainable system …” Perls said.

‘Plant-based’ not enough — others ‘growing’ meat in labs

If eating plant-based, GE grown meat alternatives laced with heme molecules to mimic the presence of blood is not enough of a science fiction adventure, consider the fact that scientists in Tel Aviv are “growing” meat in the lab from stem cell cultures.

A CBS News crew traveled to Tel Aviv to report on the story and had to sign a waiver to be able to taste the “meat.”

CEO of Aleph Farms, Didier Toubia, told the crew he believes they can produce meat efficiently, more sustainably and in a healthier fashion than what has been traditionally offered.

When the CBS reporter commented on the “delicate portion” of meat served to him, appearing in the video to be no more than a thinly-sliced, 1-inch square, the scientist cooking the “meat” said:

“Well, just to get this portion is a lot of work.”

To get their product, the researchers have to extract stem cells from chicken and change the mix of protein. Then, they have to direct the cell growth, and it’s all a slow, involved process.

Several other companies are jumping on the bandwagon, though, including Memphis Meats and Mosa Meats for beef and chicken, and Finless Foods and Wild-Type for fish.

Memphis Meats’ leadership believes their controlled production environment may reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

But Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumer Reports, points out that “bacterial contamination can occur” in laboratory environments and that “antibiotics are often needed to curb bacterial growth in cultured cell products form drug companies.”

At this point, lab-produced meat is not available for sale. Kate Krueger, Ph.D., a New York-based research director focused on cellular agriculture, says it may be “four to six years before ‘ground’ meats are available and a decade or more before we see cuts like steaks,” in the grocery store.

Choose grass fed, not genetically altered food

Although many see lab-created meat substitutes as the lesser of two evils when compared to the CAFO meat that’s currently dominating the market, altering the natural order of the lifecycle is not the answer.

Analyses on regenerative agriculture have demonstrated holistic herd management as having a positive impact on the environment and producing healthy meat and dairy products.

Ultimately, fake food contributes to the rising number of people who suffer from health conditions related to the foods they eat, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

For health reasons, ecological reasons and your future, I recommend skipping meat alternatives and opting for real beef raised using regenerative farming practices.

When you do shop for meat, look for a local organic farmer or Demeter (biodynamic) and American Grassfed Association certifications on the meat.

These accreditations designate foods produced under high-quality, sustainable and environmentally sound practices.

Originally published by Mercola.