A proud ‘meat-atarian’

My Nikkel's Worth column

I don’t normally rag on a company for their ads or campaigns, but there’s been a recent series of ads that really bother me, because they attack the livelihood of our livestock producers, and that just doesn’t sit well with me.

If you watch TV at all (and I know there are many people who don’t, or who only watch things like Crave and Netflix to avoid the commercials), you’ve likely seen the commercials for “beyond meat” so-called burgers being served by a number of fast-food places.

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For those who are vegetarians, having a “plant-based” burger is an alternative way to have a hamburger without having to eat meat, and certainly there is a market to have this alternative form of food.

What is not acceptable is the smear campaign that goes along with it, as those pitching “beyond meat” leave the impression that beef producers are irresponsible and their industry is somehow bad for the environment.

When they do pitch real burgers, they use the fad words like “raised without hormones” and so on to appeal to city folk who have no real idea what they’re talking about, but hey it sounds good.

The “plant-based” burgers are being pitched in a way that hurts beef producers, and there is no justification for that. What’s more is, the company could be supporting the pulse growers here, with many good pulse growers in Saskatchewan who would love to have that business — but instead, they source their “plants” from the United States.

It’s bad enough that these meatless burgers have unidentified “plants” as their source, but to not even use a Canadian source when selling to Canadians is not cool.

Most recently, one of the companies using “beyond meat” is using the Roughriders for their man-in-the-street taste testing commercial, and this has a few people upset, as if the Riders are the ones doing the commercial.

The football club isn’t, but the feeling is the Riders logo can only be used with their permission, and many of those on camera trying out a meatless burger were wearing Riders green.

As one blog I read pointed out, there are many cattle producers who buy Riders tickets and support the team, so they aren’t appreciating this tacit approval for a product that is not very helpful to their industry. I think taking the appearance of Riders gear as tacit approval is going a bit far, as the team hasn’t come out and endorsed the product.

What about the fact some nutrition experts point out that plant-based burgers are less healthy than eating one based on ground beef? For myself, I go along with my brother-in-law and declare, I am a “meat-atarian”, proudly so.