In this file: 

 

·         Opinion: In red meat vs plant protein wars, science is not a buffet where you pick and choose the results you like

Opinion: There is no right or wrong in food research, even if the steamrolling plant-based narrative has gotten us all thinking that way

 

·         Comment: The Great Protein War of 2019

Some restaurant chains are offering non-meat burgers, while others double down on beef

 

·         Grocery wars: Beef, dairy fight for shelf space

A food war is raging among cattle ranchers and dairy farmers who are demanding plant-based producers stop labeling their products as meat and milk as they compete with companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and milk alternatives at supermarkets…

 

·         There’s a Huge, Angry Backlash Against Fake Meat

Some argue that plant-based meats are overprocessed and unhealthy.

 

 

 

In red meat vs plant protein wars, science is not a buffet where you pick and choose the results you like

Opinion: There is no right or wrong in food research, even if the steamrolling plant-based narrative has gotten us all thinking that way

 

By Sylvain Charlebois, Special to Financial Post (Canada)

October 8, 2019

 

Charlebois is Director of the Agri-food Analytics Lab and Professor in Food Distribution and Policy and at Dalhousie University.

 

For years now, we have been force-fed the notion that red meat and processed meat products threaten our health. In 2015, the World Health Organization went as far as to say that processed meats were carcinogenic, adding them to the same category as asbestos. That’s when everything went sideways for animal proteins. Since then, the collective conventional wisdom on proteins has suggested that we go plant-based, as far as possible. The latest edition of Canada’s Food Guide, released earlier this year, was the exclamation point the plant-based movement had been looking for.

 

But the current protein war between the livestock industry and plant-based supporters has just taken an interesting twist. A group of 14 scholars has published a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, one of the most cited journals in the world, that suggests the consequences of eating meat vary from person to person. The report stated that health effects of red meat consumption are detectable only in the largest groups and that advice to individuals to cut back may not be justified by the available data. In other words, the group claims that the findings of many studies may have been inappropriately generalized and, to some extent, scientifically alarmist. Their “meta-analysis” looked at 54 different studies with high methodological standards published over a period of about 20 years. It’s an interesting read. The disclosure section where conflicts of interest are listed takes up almost half the report. The journal editors obviously knew the findings were going to be controversial.

 

But if the report is controversial, it’s only because many of us have been led to believe red meat should be avoided at all costs. Time and time again, we have been reminded that red meat, and even worse, processed meats, are evil and that we should be ashamed to eat them. Proteins were on everyone’s mind and everyone had an opinion, whether based on facts or not.

 

Like any other study, however, this report should be taken with a grain of salt. There is no such thing as the perfect study. Scientific research is not absolute. It is a journey of discovery intended to better our society by helping us make better choices as individuals, businesses and governments. This latest instalment on the consumption of proteins only adds to the breadth of knowledge we now have on the subject. At the same time, the study’s judgment-free stance on scientific findings is refreshing, as it does not attempt to condemn alternative choices. The group clearly does not want the report to become a weapon in the food wars — which may be why it does not discuss either the environmental or ethical aspects of meat consumption, subjects that carry their own share of confusion and controversies.

 

When it comes to food research, we should remind ourselves there is no right or wrong, even if the steamrolling plant-based narrative has gotten us all thinking that way. Some diets are more desirable than others, health-wise, but, as the report points out, the way we assess risks related to food should be individualized. In recent years, many health professionals have, to the contrary, talked down to us, forgetting that we are all individuals, with unique pasts and futures and our own dietary biases. Choices around food are intrinsically human. As we look to science to address some of the ambiguities, we tend to forget that. This new study reminds us that generalizations are dangerously limiting in terms of giving choices to consumers.

 

The “protein war” isn’t about how much meat we should eat but more about how scientific findings on the subject should be interpreted. It’s a mess, created by academic factions pursuing the agenda of curing the world of its dietary ills. Many are to blame for this one-sided dialogue, but academia, most of all. Some scholars clearly see protein as a cause, which often makes them blind and unreceptive to opposite views. Panels on university campuses are often dull, idealistic and predictable. Scholars tend to state what people want to hear, not going beyond what everyone already knows — or should know. Academic research in agri-food lost its way when it stopped valuing protein plurality. A largely uninformed media went along for the ride. Science is not a buffet where you pick and choose the results you like. In the end, consumers are the real victims, as such misleading scientific interpretations generate more confusion than anything else. The public deserves better...

 

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https://business.financialpost.com/opinion/in-red-meat-vs-plant-protein-wars-science-is-not-a-buffet-where-you-pick-and-choose-the-results-you-like

 

 

Comment: The Great Protein War of 2019

Some restaurant chains are offering non-meat burgers, while others double down on beef

 

By Sylvain Charlebois, Manitoba Co-operator (Canada) 

October 8, 2019

 

The great “protein war” is heating up as several major restaurant chains are either embracing the plant-based movement while others firmly position themselves as guardians of the mighty meat eater. It’s getting confusing with all these announcements, hard to keep track.

 

A&W, Canada’s first Beyond Meat ambassador, started it all a little over 12 months ago with its surprisingly successful Beyond Burger campaign. Since then, grocers have all jumped on the Beyond Meat bandwagon but now many other chains are making their position on plant-based dieting quite public. So much so that A&W’s pioneering move has somewhat been lost in all the plant-based noise. In cattle country where A&W was hated as much as the taxman, beef producers now have many targets to choose from. Tim Hortons, Burger King, and Subway, just to name a few, have all embraced plant-based products in recent months.

 

The case made by Restaurant Brands International (RBI) is interesting. Tim Hortons and Burger King, both owned by RBI, appear to be hedging on plant-based dieting. Early in the summer, Tim Hortons was adding many Beyond Meat products to its menu while Burger King introduced the Impossible Whopper, using Impossible Foods’ patties; both chains are going plant based, but with different companies. Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the two leading contenders for top supplier of plant-based products, have had a busy summer. As soon as Burger King announced its partnership with Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat made public its association with another major restaurant chain, Subway, and a few weeks after this it finalized its partnership with Dunkin’ Donuts. Then, the American-based institutional food prep giant Sodexo announced it was working with Impossible Foods.

 

Confused yet? Not a week goes by these days that we don’t hear about a major chain going plant based.

 

Tim Hortons’ commitment to Beyond Meat points to how inclusive the chain wants to be. Tim Hortons is mostly known for its non-meat offering and now is offering something for everyone. Burger King’s case is a little more complicated since it makes its money selling mostly burgers. After running pilot programs for a few months in different American markets, it is now offering the Impossible Whopper to its customers, across the U.S. It did not take long for skeptics to criticize Burger King’s plant-based move.

 

Some vegans make the point that the chain intends to cook Impossible Whopper patties on the same grill as patties from “dead cows.” As a result, Burger King is now giving a choice to customers and they can have their Impossible Whopper patties cooked separately if desired. Simply adding a plant-based option on the menu is no longer enough; chains are now made accountable for what goes on in the kitchen as well.

 

Burger King’s decision to partner with Impossible Foods may seem surprising for some, but the chain was clearly motivated by McDonald’s very public stance on meat consumption. As Chipotle and Arby’s did earlier this summer, McDonald’s is doubling down on beef and has no intention to offer meat alternatives any time soon. In fact, McDonald’s is now selling an enhanced version of its Big Mac and the ads are everywhere – an obvious, direct response to what we have seen since last year’s Beyond Burger launch by A&W.

 

Seeing McDonald’s Canada going in another direction would have been surprising. For a long time, McDonald’s Canada has prided itself on promoting Canadian beef and other commodities grown and produced in the country. It would have been awkward to see McDonald’s adding any plant-based products to its menu.

 

McDonald’s Canada is also a key stakeholder in the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an initiative launched to give beef a greener reputation. Its commitment to beef and its customer base remains the same. In 2003, McDonald’s offered a less than decent veggie burger. The product was awful and was dropped a few years later as if its failure was almost by design. The chain clearly has no intention to lure flexitarians who are looking for “fake” animal proteins any time soon.

 

The summer of 2019 became a high point in the so-called “protein war,” our divisive quest to see a more pluralistic protein marketplace. The narrative of how the food-service industry is using the emergence of plant-based dieting as a lightning rod seems to be...

 

more, including links  

https://www.manitobacooperator.ca/comment/the-great-proteinwar-of-2019/

 

 

Grocery wars: Beef, dairy fight for shelf space

 

By Jeanette Settembre, Fox Business

Oct 8, 2019

 

A food war is raging among cattle ranchers and dairy farmers who are demanding plant-based producers stop labeling their products as meat and milk as they compete with companies like Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and milk alternatives at supermarkets.

 

Sales of plant-based alternatives to meat have increased 8 percent since August of this year, while chicken, pork and beef sales stayed stagnant, according to Nielsen data as reported by The Wall Street Journal.  And lobbying groups for beef producers are calling out some plant-based producers’ marketing tactics.

 

“We don’t believe they should be able to use the term beef, and they should be marketing their products on the positive attributes of their products, and not by disparaging our products – specifically Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat,” Colin Woodall, CEO of the Colorado-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a trade group, told FOX Business Tuesday, adding, “Don’t use the term beef, because you’re not beef.”

 

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, the makers of plant-based burgers on sale at grocery stores and at fast-food chains like Burger King, White Castle, Dunkin and KFC, target meat-eating consumers looking to eat less meat and diversify their protein intake. Their products are marketed as being environmentally friendly alternatives.

 

Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat did not immediately return a request for comment.

 

There have been 45 bills introduced in 27 states aimed at challenging food labeling of plant-based products to not allow them to call their foods meat or milk, the Journal reported.

 

Sales of plant-based milk including varieties like soy, almond, oat and others have grown 6 percent over the past year, now making up 13 percent of the entire milk category, according to data from The Good Food Institute and Plant Based Foods Association. Sales of cow’s milk, meanwhile, have declined 3 percent, according to the same report.

 

“Labeling integrity is important for consumers to understand what something is, and what something isn’t. Milk is a much more nutritious beverage than its plant-based imitators, and their misuse of dairy terms misleads consumers into thinking those beverages benefit them in ways they do not,” Alan Bjerga, a spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation said in an email.

 

Some states have recently imposed stricter food labeling laws that side with the animal agriculture industry. Arkansas lawmakers created a food labeling law earlier this year that forbids companies from using meat names like burgers and sausages if the product isn’t actually made from animal products.

 

As a result, Tofurky, the faux-meat substitute made from imitation turkey and tofu, sued the state of Arkansas on Monday over its labeling law, asking a federal judge to temporarily put it on hold, arguing that consumers understand that veggie burgers aren’t real beef and that alternative dairy products, like almond milk, don’t come from cows. Tofurkey has not changed its labels.

 

The law would impose a $1,000 fine on plant-based or alternative meat products that are packaged and marketed as meat, like “tofu dogs” or “veggie burgers,” despite also being labeled as vegetarian or vegan.

 

Advocates for plant-based foods have said the proposed state laws are a violation of the First Amendment's right to freedom of speech...

 

more, including links 

https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/food-labeling-wars-continue-as-meat-dairy-producers-compete-with-plant-based-products-at-supermarkets

 

 

There’s a Huge, Angry Backlash Against Fake Meat

Some argue that plant-based meats are overprocessed and unhealthy.

 

Victor Tangermann, Futurism

Oct 8, 2019

 

Fake meat is having a huge moment right now. With massive financial gains, brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are creating an entirely new — and thriving — market.

 

But not everybody is on board with veggie burgers that aren’t entirely “veggie,” as Vox reports, with critics arguing that fake meat is unhealthy and goes against the idea of consuming “whole,” GMO-free foods.

 

CEOs of major corporations including Whole Foods and Chipotle have dismissed the plant-based meats as far too processed — a valid criticism considering how companies produce the meatless products flooding the markets right now.

 

“I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy,” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey told CNBC in August. “I think people thrive on eating whole foods. As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big of criticism that I will do in public.”

 

It’s arguably too early to tell if Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods’ products do negatively affect our health. Some argue they’re healthier because they let consumers avoid the cancer risks associated with red meat and provide a comparable substitute for people sensitive to the growth hormones and antibiotics fed to cattle.

 

However, that didn’t stop one critic, registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey, from telling CNBC in July that plant-based burgers “are not necessarily healthier than beef burgers.”

 

So, the big question remains: do the pros of fake meat outweigh the cons?

 

There is a second criticism, backed up by many years of scientific research, that could sway your answer: factory farming is terrible for the environment...

 

more, including links 

https://futurism.com/angry-backlash-fake-meat