Advertising vegetarian food that tastes like meat

This is a question for vegetarians.

I sometimes see advertisements for vegetarian food that emphasizes it’s meat-like qualities. Descriptions such as ‘chicken-style’ pieces of vegetable protein that look, feel and taste just like real chicken.

Vegetarians, is this actually a positive selling point for you?

As an example, once on a trip to Thailand I saw street vendors offering fried insects, grubs and maggots. I couldn’t bring myself to try them. If somebody offered me insect-style pieces of tofu, that taste like insects but aren’t really insects, I don’t think I’d try that either.

Likewise if someone doesn’t like the idea of eating dead animals, would they like the idea of eating fake dead animals any better?

They aren’t directing that to vegetarians.

Yeah, I became allergic to red meat about a decade ago. I miss it terribly. The Impossible Burger was a godsend.

Aren’t they?

If I want to eat something that tastes like chicken, I’ll eat chicken. Sometimes I take the vegetarian option just for variety. But if it tastes too much like chicken, it isn’t much of a change.

You seem to have missed my post. If I want something that tastes like beef, actual beef is not an option.

I didn’t miss it. It’s an interesting point and thank you for making it. I replied to Chingon’s post because I disagree with it. I don’t disagree with yours, so it didn’t need a reply.

An ethical view that eating animals is wrong surely does not imply that you must hate the taste of meat. For some people the ethical aspect may be so abhorrent that (as you suggest) they would eschew anything resembling meat, even if they knew it didn’t come from an animal; but I don’t think that’s true for most vegetarians.

For clarity, are you a vegetarian?

No, not really.

I am not a vegetarian; for the most part, I do not like the taste nor the texture of vegetables. And, I love meat.

But, I know that eating vegetables, overall, is better for me than eating meat. And, I know that meat production has become something that isn’t good for the planet, as well as often being cruel to the animals. So, conceptually, I am absolutely in favor of eating less meat.

Impossible, Beyond Meat, and their like – they are talking to people like me.

Yes, they are — they are directing it at people who are vegetarian not for aesthetic reasons (they dislike the sensory experience of eating meat) but for ethical reasons (they consider the production of meet as food to be morally wrong for one reason or another). Ethical vegetarianism is common. Ethical vegetarians may very much like the taste of meat and may miss eating it. Meatlike alternatives have an appeal for them.

Are you a vegetarian?

No, but a member of my immediate family, with whom I share a home (and a kitchen) is.

And have you asked this person what their opinion is?

Please note, folks, I am inviting response from actual vegetarians. Not from meat eaters who make guesses about what vegetarians ought to think.

We cook together and eat together. We have to negotiate the sharing of a kitchen between a meat-eater and a vegan. We had discussed these things many times. Of course they have told me their views about this.

My wife and I were vegetarians for many years (she still is). Both of us for “ethical” reasons, but I would say more religious reasons for her.

She never ate imitation meat of any kind. I did. She thinks eating meat pollutes your body and your soul. So “pretending to eat meat is like a monk watching porn and masturbating, and still thinking that he is not violating his vows of celibacy”

I would eat vegetarian burgers and the like. She will eat a black bean and quinoa “patty”. Just don’t call it a burger. But things like Impossible Meat is right out.

So these ads could be effective for the vegetarian me, but not her.

Will you invite responses from lapsed vegetarians?

I was a vegetarian for about 15 years (well, for about half that time, I ate fish). It was never because I disliked the taste or texture of meat; it was because I disliked the environmental and ethical effects of animal-based agriculture. (I still don’t like those, but I lack the discipline to remain vegetarian these days because adulthood is hard y’all).

When I was vegetarian, I happily ate things like Gardenburgers and Quorn Nuggets; and when other vegetarians bragged about how much they disliked meat, I rolled my eyes. I mean, it’s fine if you dislike the taste of meat, but it’s not a virtue.

I know vegetarians who don’t eat meat for health reasons, and others who don’t eat meat for ethical reasons, but still like the flavor and texture of meat, and buy fake meat that approximates some of that flavor and texture.

Many people are vegetarians for reasons other than not liking the taste of meat.

I’ve seen vegetarians try meat for the first time in a long time and one of the things that keeps the vegetarian, even if they like the taste, is that they’re disgusted by the idea of eating animal flesh.
Kind of along those same lines, I can’t stand (fresh) fruit. The texture bothers me (and I’m actually allergic to some of it). People are always surprised when they find out I like jelly or juice or fruit flavored slushies. I often find myself explaining that I like fruit flavored things, just not actual fruit.

Here’s a video I saw a while back. You’ll notice often times they actually like the taste, they just physically/mentally can’t get past the idea of what they’re eating. Also, sometimes it’s the texture and vegetarian foods are going to have a different texture, even if they taste the same.

Speaking for my wife (who is a vegetarian), this is a -negative- point. She is not an ethical vegetarian, but before becoming more aware of her own tastes, made every effort to conceal her meat as much as possible. So it was always heavily sauced dishes, meat cooked to well done and drowned in steak sauce, or fried foods in heavy batter.

About 10ish years ago, she came to the realization that she just didn’t like either the taste, and often even the texture of meat. She just felt compelled to have it because that’s what everyone else was having as the main dish growing up. As she got older, she felt less compelled, and more willing to make what made her happy rather than what she felt she ‘should’ be having.

She also had an issue of growing up in a very ‘meat and potatoes’ household, where ethnic dishes, with a much wider array of options, were outside of her experience.

These days, we generally cook separate dinners, which is no trouble as we both love to cook and I absolutely want meat, but she makes a point of avoiding ‘meat replica’ foods. No problem with a patty on a bun, but she’ll have a black bean or cowboy burger rather than an absolute burger 100% of the time.