The Meatless Farm brings a new meatless burger to Whole Foods

The Meatless Farm

Veggie burgers are nothing new, but realistic, meatlike veggie burgers are a relatively recent healthy eating phenomenon that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In a market dominated by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, a new competitor is setting up shop.

A UK-based company called The Meatless Farm will make its US debut on Aug. 5 by stocking more than 450 Whole Foods stores with faux-meat burgers and ground “meat” (aka just “ground.”) The 450-plus locations span 43 states, and you can find out if a Whole Foods near you stocks the new products by using the locator on The Meatless Farm’s product page.

According to Kasper Vesth, general manager North America of The Meatless Farm Co., the company has experienced sellout success in the UK, Europe, Canada and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and is expected to do the same in the US — which wouldn’t be too surprising after Impossible Foods experienced a similar struggle.

Now playing: Watch this: The Impossible Burger gets a beefy upgrade at CES 2019 4:46

How much do Meatless Farm burgers cost?

At $5.99 for a pack of two burger patties and $7.99 for a 14-ounce pack of ground, the Meatless Farm products are a bit more expensive than real beef (depending on where you live and shop), but not too far from the price points of Beyond Meat products ($5.99 for two patties, $9.99 for a 16-ounce package of ground at Whole Foods).

It’s hard to compare prices with the Impossible Burger, which is currently only available at restaurants. However, Impossible Burgers should be in US grocery stores in September, Impossible Foods has said.

How do Meatless Farm products compare with the Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger?

The Meatless Farm claims its products are “almost indistinguishable from meat in terms of taste and texture” and are 100% plant-based, which is basically the same thing that Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods say about their burgers.

Meatless Farm comes right out and targets skeptics on its ingredients page, saying, “We’ve found that sometimes people think that food innovation means lab coats and artificial products. Some even assume our products are scientifically processed but actually they’re made by our team of chefs with the simple goal of being as tasty, natural and healthy as possible.”

That said, let’s take a look at their ingredients and nutrition.

Ingredients: Water, Soya Protein Concentrate, Pea Protein, Soya Protein Isolate, Rapeseed Oil, Shea Oil, Coconut Oil, Chicory Root Fibre, Thickener: Methyl Cellulose, Caramelized Carrot Concentrate, Carrot Fibre, Rice Protein, Salt, Flavouring, Vegetable and Fruit Extracts (Beetroot, Radish, Tomato), Yeast Extracts, Carrot Concentrate, Emulsifier: Soya Lecithin, Antioxidant: Ascorbic Acid, Vitamins and Minerals (Niacin, Zinc, Iron, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12)

Overall, the ingredients look pretty similar to those of the Beyond and Impossible burgers: A plant-based protein concentrate, variety of plant oils, thickeners and emulsifiers, extracts, seasonings and micronutrients for fortification. Note that soya is the same thing as soy, it’s just called soya in the UK.

Compared with the Impossible and Beyond burgers, the Meatless Farm burger packs more protein and more fiber while containing less fat and less carbohydrates.

If you want to taste the difference for yourself, you’ll be able to buy The Meatless Farm products at a Whole Foods near you starting Aug. 5 — though some stores already show it in stock.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

U.K. Fake Meat Specialist Will Rival Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods with Supermarket Deal

More fake meat!

British protein synthesisers Meatless Farm will rival Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods in the U.S.’s increasingly competitive fake meat / tech burger market. Meatless Farm, which says its products are “almost indistinguishable from meat in terms of taste and texture” and claims to have achieved uncounted “exponential growth,” has signed a deal with Whole Foods Market in over 450 locations, and would have expected a clear run at Beyond Meat’s monopoly, with Impossible Foods not yet able to sell its impossible burgers in supermarkets.

That’s no longer the case. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now satisfied that heme — soy leghemoglobin — is legit, and Impossible’s bleeding burgers and raw ‘bricks’ can enter U.S. supermarkets. Impossible has never centred its expansion strategy on supermarkets for this reason, and has watched its reputation grow outside of direct-to-consumer sales — this is a lucrative market it is yet to tap.

Given the outsize unicorn reputation and investor catnip that Impossible shares with Beyond Meat, its string of strangely unchallenged reputable chef endorsements, and more ridiculously aspirational name that speaks to the calculated optimism of having tech bros fix problems that a redistributed food system could solve instead, that’s probably bad news for Meatless Farm. Perhaps there will be room for even more fake meat, though — Beyond Meat has been in Whole Foods Market since 2016.

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Why the CEO of Whole Foods Doesn’t Think Much of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Share on PinterestMeatless alternatives such as the Beyond Burger have skyrocketed in popularity this year. Getty Images

  • The chief executive officer of Whole Foods says many plant-based meat alternatives aren’t as healthy as some people think.
  • Nutrition experts agree, noting that some plant-based meats are high in sodium and saturated fat.
  • However, nutrition experts say the meatless alternatives may be a healthy substitute for people who don’t have time to prepare a diet of whole foods every day.

Plant-based meats are increasing in popularity, but are they healthier than real meat?

The chief executive officer of Whole Foods doesn’t think so.

Speaking to CNBC, John Mackey, a vegan of more than 20 years, says plant-based meats aren’t necessarily as healthy as some may think.

“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,” Mackey said.

“I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. 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,” he added.

Two of the most popular plant-based meats on the market, Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have skyrocketed in popularity.

Beyond Meat is featured on the menus of Dunkin’, KFC, Del Taco, and TGI Friday’s, while you can find Impossible Foods at Burger King, White Castle, and Red Robin.

Beyond Meat’s website says the company aims to create “the future of protein” and by “shifting from animal to plant-based meat, we are creating one savory solution that solves four growing issues attributed to livestock production: human health, climate change, constraints on natural resources, and animal welfare.”

But Mackey isn’t the only one who isn’t sold on the health aspect of the plant-based meats.

“Not all plant-based meats are created equally. Of all the plant-based meats in the market today, some are minimally processed and made with whole foods, while others are highly processed and contain additives and flavorings,” Lauri Wright, PhD, an assistant professor in public health at the University of North Florida, told Healthline.

“Beyond Burger in fact is one of the highest plant-based burger in calories and saturated fat at 270 calories and 5 grams of saturated fat.”

In comparison, a Boca Original Vegan Veggie Burger has only 70 calories and 0 grams of saturated fat. A Boca All American Veggie Burger has 100 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat.

Whole Foods CEO: Fake Meats Not ‘Healthy’

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has been vegan for more than 20 years, says he can’t endorse any plant-based meat substitutes currently on the market due to their ingredient lists.

Mackey told CNBC the brands that are “taking the world by storm, if you look at the ingredients, they are super, highly processed foods.”

Whole Foods gave plant-based start-up Beyond Meat a boost in 2013 when the grocer began offering its vegan “chicken” strips. Early investors in the product were billionaires Bill Gates and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

“We launched Beyond Meat. We were their launching pad. In fact, I think all of their new products have been introduced at Whole Foods,” Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods told CNBC’s Make It. In 2016, Beyond Meat launched its Beyond Burger.

“I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy,” Mackey said. “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.”

Mackey believes plant-based meat alternatives are a more ethical choice and better for the environment, the CNBC article said. He also notes the meat substitutes are considered by some as a way for meat eaters to “re-educate” their palates.

Whole Foods CEO says plant-based ‘meat’ is unhealthy

Plant-based “meats” from companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been getting plenty of attention lately — from both fans and critics.

Impossible Foods

Despite all the hype, Whole Foods’ CEO reportedly isn’t a fan of plant-based “meat.” While it may be good for the environment, John Mackey told CNBC last week, it’s not great for your health.

“If you look at the ingredients, they are super highly processed foods,” Mackey, who is vegan, reportedly said. “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods.”

Beyond Meat, a plant-based meat startup, began selling its vegan chicken strips at Whole Foods in 2013. The startup went on to develop plant-based beef, and competitor Impossible Foods also created a burger that tastes like beef. The Impossible Burger is available at restaurants such as Burger King, White Castle and Red Robin.

The plant-based meat craze is quickly growing. This week, Beyond Meat and Kentucky Fried Chicken said they’re teaming up to test plant-based chicken. A KFC restaurant in Atlanta was the first to offer Beyond Fried Chicken as nuggets and boneless wings.

Many people have pointed out that plant-based meat, which is processed and contains fair amounts of sodium and saturated fat, isn’t as healthy as some may think. In addition, Impossible Burger and Beyond Burger have calorie counts similar to that of ground beef. Still, some nutritionists have said the burgers aren’t necessarily bad for you, despite being processed.

Now playing: Watch this: Burger King’s Impossible Whopper: see the technology… 7:19

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

A Veggie Burger That Actually Bleeds Is Headed to Whole Foods

In an attempt to provide the world a “plant-based burger that looks, cooks, and tastes like ground beef,” vegetarian company Beyond Meat will soon sell its new Beyond Burger in a Boulder, Colo., Whole Foods. The veggie burger will make its debut at the store on Monday, reports the New York Times, and it will be packaged as two four-ounce patties for $5.99.

Veggie burgers don’t have the best reputation among carnivores, but Tom Rich, vice president of purchasing and distribution in the Denver region of Whole Foods Market, told the Times Beyond Meat’s version “tasted and felt and chewed like any other burger.” It stands out against other veggie burgers because it’s sold right along side ground beef in a refrigerated case. Other vegetarian options, including a “Beast Burger” produced by Beyond Meat, are found in grocers’ freezers and often fail to mimic the beefy qualities burger lovers enjoy.

Perhaps the biggest selling point for veggie-wary meat-eaters is that Beyond Meat’s burger “bleeds” thanks to the inclusion of pulverized beets. The company says its new burger contains 20 grams of plant protein.

In addition to burgers, Beyond Meat produces plant-based “chicken strips,” “meatballs,” and packaged meals. The company has been successful since it was founded by Ethan Brown in 2009. Tech billionaire Bill Gates is an investor, and former McDonald’s chief executive officer Don Thompson is on the Board of Directors. This new product takes a big step toward defining “the future of protein,” which happens to be Beyond Meat’s tag line. Brown says his burger is seven years in the making.

“This is what I had in mind when I started the company,” he told the Times.

A successful Oregon based burger joint is making its way into a Seattle Whole Foods at the end of the week. The completely vegan Next Level Burger, will open a burger bar at the front of the Roosevelt Whole Foods store and will be open 11am – 10pm for everyone to get their veggie burger fix!

Next Level Burger (NLB) doesn’t just serve veggie burgers, they also serve hotdogs, dairy free shakes and alcohol! Being vegan, NLB include plenty of options for people who are lactose intolerant and also cater to gluten free diets. To make it extra good for your body, they use only organic and non GMO ingredients. In addition to this, the menu not only specifies calories but also how many grams of protein each meal has just so you know you’re not missing out on a protein fix! The chain will also be serving Beyond Burger, the plant-based burger patty that “bleeds” beet juice!

NLB is the brainchild of couple Cierra and Matt de Gruyter. Matt is an ex-Marine who had changed careers but following a business trip felt that he wanted to switch his life up a bit. That evening he and Cierra laid out plans to open a vegan restaurant in Oregon. From then they began to develop their own vegan recipes, using trial and error before they got their food spot on!

Matt himself used to indulge in a lot of meat products, but he switched to a plant-based diet after discovering just how much water was needed to sustain his meaty diet – the equivalent to one swimming pool every single week!

Matt and Cierra have high hopes for the growth of their chain, which already has several locations around Oregon, due to the increased interest in meat reduction in the USA. ‘Ten years ago, a third of the country said they wanted to reduce their consumption of red meat,’ said Matt de Grutyer ‘Now it’s two-thirds of the country, and dairy, too.’

Hopefully NLB will begin to appear all over the country so more people can sample some of their veggie burger deliciousness!

Image credit: NLB | NLB | NLB

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California food company Don Lee Farms debuted its Organic Plant-Based Raw Burgers last week at Costco. The non-GMO burger patty is made from a blend of beans, seeds, and beet juice. Don Lee Farms enters a space currently dominated by two innovative “bleeding” patties, the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Burger—both of which have found widespread success in retail and restaurant outlets. “Our customers are looking for an alternative to a raw beef burger, and we responded with a healthier approach—making a burger with organic plants,” Don Lee Farms president Donald Goodman said. “We challenge everyone to look at the ingredients found in other plant-based raw burgers currently being sold … you would be surprised.” Launched in 1982, the company creates vegetarian and vegan food products—sold under a private label or branded—for retailers such as Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, and Smart & Final—all of which will carry the burger in coming months.

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Vegan Options You Might Not Know Exist at Whole Foods

Published June 5, 2019 by Addie Mauldin. Last Updated August 14, 2019.

With all the vegan options available at Whole Foods, we’ve decided to take the liberty of making your grocery list for you. (It’s mostly vegan desserts, #SorryNotSorry.) We’re here to help you navigate the dairy-free dessert aisles, the meatless meat section, and the gelatin-free candy shelves. If you’re a new vegan who’s just getting started or someone who gets easily overwhelmed when presented with too many delicious decisions, this list is for you. Are you running short on time or don’t live near a Whole Foods Market? No need to worry. Whole Foods’ website features a vegan filter to make your grocery shopping experience so much easier (and more compassionate).

Vegan Cheese

Whole Foods carries all our favorite dairy-free cheeses, including Follow Your Heart, Violife, and Kite Hill, and even has its own brand of vegan cheese slices and shreds.

365 Everyday Value Plant-Based Cheddar Cheese Alternative

365 Everyday Value Plant-Based Cheese Slices

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We’ve got the 🔑 to the perfect grilled cheese, just in time for #NationalGrilledCheeseDay. #plantbased #makesmewhole

A post shared by Whole Foods Market (@wholefoods) on Apr 12, 2019 at 12:02pm PDT

Violife Just Like Feta

The Honest Stand Mild Nacho Dip

Bakery Section

Our jaws nearly dropped when we saw all these vegan baked goods at Whole Foods. We’re talking about you, Just Desserts Vegan Chocolate Midnight Cake.

Vegan Chocolate Glazed Donuts

Abe’s Wild Blueberry Smash

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No such thing as the Monday blues when you have Abe’s Wild BLUEberry Smash muffins in your life! #abes #theveganmuffin #vegan #schoolfriendly #eggfree #veganfriendly #dairyfree #monday #mondayblues

A post shared by Abe’s Vegan Muffins (@abesmuffins) on May 6, 2019 at 8:36am PDT

Whole Foods Market Vegan Lemon Blueberry Scones and Chive Scones

Fancypants Baking Co. Vegan Sugar Cookies

Just Desserts Vegan Chocolate Midnight Cake

Raised Gluten Free Pies

Rubicon Bakers Vegan Cupcakes

Whole Foods Bakery Vegan Apple, Cherry, and Blueberry Pies

Hot Foods Bar and Grab-and-Go

Whole Foods introduced several new vegan grab-and-go foods, including a vegan corned beef sandwich featuring plant-based meat from Mrs. Goldfarb’s Unreal Deli and dairy-free mac ‘n’ cheese, at many of its locations. Please keep in mind that the grab-and-go section and hot foods bar is different at every Whole Foods location.

Vegan Corned Beef Sandwich

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Just sayin 💁🏻‍♀️ #veganinspiration #veganfoodlover #veganworld #veganlife #veganvibes

A post shared by Mrs. Jenny Goldfarb (@unrealdeli) on Jul 2, 2019 at 5:54pm PDT

Assorted Vegan Pizzas

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Found some vegan pizza at Whole Foods today! We both picked up a slice for lunch before shopping for dinner.

A post shared by Victoria (@healthy_ghost) on May 22, 2019 at 4:11pm PDT

Vegan Macaroni & Yease

Desserts

Need we say more? All these sweet treats are completely vegan:

365 Everyday Value Almondmilk Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts

365 Everyday Value Vegan Gummies

365 Everyday Value Chocolate Sandwich Cremes

©365 Everyday Value

365 Everyday Value Chocolate Sprinkles

Coolhaus Awesome Dessert Dairy-Free Sandwiches

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Being in love with both my pint and my sammie is a real balancing act 🤷‍♀️ Our new Dairy Free line can be found at a @wholefoods near you! Which ones have you tried so far?

A post shared by COOLHAUS (@coolhaus) on Apr 6, 2019 at 12:34pm PDT

So Delicious Cold Brew

Meat-Free Meats

Whole Foods Market has its own brand of vegan deli meats and carries so many other tasty meat-free meats, including burgers from The Meatless Farm Co. and Beyond Meat, as well as fish-free tuna.

The Meatless Farm Co.

No Evil Plant Meats

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See No Evil: we’re stocked up on shelves across the nation, ready to be found and enjoyed by you, your friends, your cousin, your dentist, and even that one uncle on your dad’s side whose name you can’t remember. Yeah, even him. Check our website for your nearest retailer!

A post shared by No Evil Foods (@noevilfoods) on Feb 5, 2019 at 3:46pm PST

Beyond Burger

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TOMORROW, celebrate #NationalHamburgerDay 🍔with an exclusive Beyond Burger offer at @wholefoods! Check our IG story for more info 👆Happy grilling!

A post shared by Beyond Meat (@beyondmeat) on May 27, 2017 at 9:10am PDT

Fish-Free Tuna

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Our exclusive six-legume blend is all about enjoyment, taste and texture 🐟🌿

A post shared by Good Catch (@goodcatchfoods) on Dec 21, 2018 at 10:28am PST

365 Everyday Value Plant-Based Deli Slices

Dairy-Free Milk

Nonvegan milk is a thing of the past with all these creamy, plant-based milks at the market. Check them out on your next trip to Whole Foods.

Califia Farms Oat Milk Barista Blend

Oatly! Oat-Milk Chocolate

We hope this list helps you with your vegan grocery shopping! If you’re thinking about following a more delicious and compassionate lifestyle, sign up for PETA’s vegan starter kit today:

Order Your FREE Vegan Starter Kit

Send Me a Vegan Starter Kit

The market for meat substitutes is expected to hit $2.5 billion by 2023, according to Euromonitor estimates.

But Mackey, who has been a vegan for more than 20 years, isn’t sold on the health benefits of plant-based meats.

“The 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.”

And Mackey isn’t alone. Some dietitians aren’t completely sold on the plant-based burger craze either.

“They are not necessarily healthier than beef burgers,” Alissa Rumsey, a registered dietitian, told CNBC in July. “They’re totally fine to eat, but there’s no need to replace your beef burger if you don’t enjoy these,” Rumsey added, pointing out that both plant-based burgers and traditional beef burgers have the same amount of sodium and saturated fat.

On the other hand, Mackey does believe that plant-based meats are a more ethical choice and are better for the environment than regular meat. And research has backed up those claims.

According to a study commissioned by Beyond Meat with the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan, a plant-based burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 45% less energy, has 99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land use than a ¼ pound of traditional U.S. beef.

According to Fast Company, Americans switching from beef to plant-based patties would be equivalent to taking 12 million cars off the road for an entire year.

Even given his reservations about the health of the products, Mackey says there is at least one good dietary argument for plant-based meat: “A lot of people say … that meat is a transition food, meaning it’s a way for to begin to reeducate palates”; it’s a good first step in weaning people off of meat products, he says.

Mackey says most Americans wouldn’t enjoy eating like he does (he has 15 fruits and vegetables a day) because their taste buds are used to a diet that includes a lot of processed foods.

“So the reason why these plant-based meats have taken the world by storm is that they taste very similar to regular meats, whereas if you get a black bean burger with flax seeds and sweet potatoes in it, that’s going to taste great to me,” he says, but not to most people.

Mackey says the good news is that people can retrain their palate to “enjoy pretty much anything” by consistently eating something they typically didn’t like before.

“I love fruits and vegetables,” Mackey says, because he trained his taste buds to love them.

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods did not immediately respond to CNBC Make It’s request for comment.

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Whole Foods CEO John Mackey says the plant-based boom isn’t necessarily producing healthy food. Dustin Finkelstein/Getty Images for SXSW

Meat-free doesn’t automatically mean healthy.

This was the sentiment that Whole Foods Market co-founder and CEO John Mackey expressed when discussing the plant-based boom with CNBC Make It on Wednesday. The executive, who’s a vegan, avoided criticizing any particular company. In fact, when mentioning Beyond Meat specifically, he noted that Amazon-owned Whole Foods was “their launching pad,” referring to the supermarket chain being one of the first to carry Beyond Meat products.

SEE ALSO: Beyond Meat Is Bringing Home the Bacon (Alternative)

However, Mackey said that while the “brands” currently seeing major growth are great for the environment, their offerings do contain non-“whole foods” ingredients.

“The 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,” Mackey said. “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.”

It’s true that animal product alternatives by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are made to mimic the taste of meat, thanks to the use of chemical compounds and protein blends. For example, Impossible Foods’ famous burger is made of ingredients like soy protein concentrate, coconut oil and soy leghemoglobin, which is the chemical that gives it its “bloody” coloring.

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

Mackey’s comments have been echoed by health experts since the meatless boom began, especially in the wake of Beyond Meat’s successful IPO. While faux meat is a good option for those wanting to cut back on animal products, it’s not necessarily the most nutritious and should still be consumed in careful portions.

Despite some health-related concerns, the popularity of meatless companies doesn’t seem to be at risk anytime soon. In fact, the boom has inspired more emerging competitors looking to fulfill the increased demand for meat-free products. Both Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have plans to continue expanding into retail and restaurants across the country.

The CEO of Whole Foods Thinks Plant-Based Meat Isn’t Really That Good for You

LauriPatterson/Getty Images

Plant-based meat alternatives made by companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been taking the food world by storm.

Beyond Meat, in particular, has quickly become a fan-favorite. The brand’s signature plant-based “bleeding” veggie burger is now available at several popular food chains, including TGI Fridays, Carl’s Jr., and A&W. Next month, Subway will start selling a Beyond Meat sub, and even KFC is experimenting with plant-based “fried chicken,” which apparently sold out just five hours into its first test run. Grocery stores, like Target, Kroger, and Whole Foods, have all started to offer a variety of plant-based meat products to meet the increased demand.

Between the environmental benefits of going plant-based and the straight-up delicious taste of these products, there are plenty of reasons to make the switch. But the biggest question has always been: Are these foods actually good for you? Whole Foods’ CEO, John Mackey, would argue that they’re not.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Mackey, who is also a vegan, said he refuses to “endorse” products like Beyond Meat because they’re not exactly benefiting your health. “If you look at the ingredients, they are super highly processed foods,” he said. “I don’t think eating highly processed foods is healthy. I think people thrive on eating whole foods. As for health, I will not endorse that, and that is about as big a criticism that I will do in public.”

Turns out, Mackey does have a point. “Any type of meat alternative is going to be just that—an alternative,” says Gabrielle Mancella, a registered dietitian at Orlando Health. “Although we may assume that the saturated fat, cholesterol, and preservatives sometimes found in real meats are going to cause us harm, there are negatives within the processed alternative meat arena as well.”

For instance, many plant-based burger and sausage options contain high amounts of sodium since it helps maintain their texture and flavor, explains Mancella. Too much sodium, however, can increase your risk for certain cardiovascular and kidney diseases, as well as osteoporosis and even some types of cancer. That’s why the United States Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020 recommends limiting sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day. “One Beyond Meat burger may contain a significant portion of ,” says Mancella. “And when complemented with condiments and a bun, you can nearly double the sodium intake, which ends up being more than if you just got the real thing.”

It’s also important to watch out for artificial coloring in plant-based meat alternatives, adds Mancella. These dyes are usually added in small doses to help replicate the color of meat but have been highly controversial in recent years. It’s worth pointing out, though, that some plant-based meats, like Beyond Meat, are colored using natural products. “This burger literally tastes like it just popped off of the grill, and the texture is so similar to real beef, it is astounding that it is mainly colored with beets and is a non-soy-based product,” explains Mancella. Still, the methods of processing these plant-based alternatives can be just as harmful as their original counterparts, she says. (Did you know that artificial flavoring is one of 14 banned foods still available in the U.S.?)

So are you actually better off just eating the real thing? Mancella says it depends on how much plant-based meat you’re planning to consume.

“It depends on your goals,” she adds. “If you’re trying to decrease the amount of saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium in your diet, then alternative meat products aren’t for you. But if you’re just trying to decrease the carbon footprint from animal products, these foods might be exactly what you’re looking for.” (See: Is Red Meat *Really* Bad for You?)

Bottom line: As with most things, moderation is key when consuming meat-alternative products. “A minimally processed diet is always best, which is why these products should be approached with the same level of caution as one would with other packaged foods such as cereals, crackers, chips, etc.,” says Mancella. “I would not recommend becoming dependent on these products.”

Starting August 5, vegan products from The Meatless Farm Co. will appear on the shelves of 450 Whole Foods Markets nationwide. Whole Foods will offer the brand’s meat-free quarter-pound burger patties ($5.99 for a pack of two) and its meat-free ground beef ($7.99 per 14-ounce pack). The United Kingdom-based company spent two years developing its vegan ground beef and burgers, which it launched at 600 Sainsbury’s supermarkets across the UK in 2018. “It’s an exciting time to introduce The Meatless Farm Co. to our US shoppers, as plant-based is without a doubt one of the most innovative categories in retail, and gaining more and more traction with consumers,” Parker Brody, Global Grocery Category Merchant for Whole Foods Market, said. “We know Meatless Farm’s products will resonate with our U.S. shoppers, many of whom come to Whole Foods Market looking for new, delicious products that meet not only their food preferences, but also those of their friends and family.” The Meatless Farm Co. established its United States headquarters in New York City and plans to open production and distribution facilities in the US by 2020 to support its expansion. “The response to our products in the UK, Europe, the UAE, and Canada has been phenomenal, so it’s only natural that we’re moving into the USA where the alternative meat category is moving so quickly,” The Meatless Farm Co. CEO Robert Woodall said. “As plant-based alternatives become increasingly mainstream, we’re on a mission to educate the world-wide market on the benefits to them and the environment.”

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Range preview: Whole Foods Market Veganuary 2020

Seggiano Raw Basil Pesto

Rsp: £6.39

Made with fresh Ligurian basil, this pesto is raw, unpasteurised and parmesan-free. The sauce is made in Italy, where the hand-picked basil leaves are washed, chopped and preserved in olive oil within hours of being harvested.

Clear Spot Organic Tofu Sea Cakes

Rsp: £2.29

These patties are made with smoked tofu and blended with crispy seaweed. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, the fishcake alternatives are also GM, dairy, gluten and yeast-free.

Nojo Teriyaki Sauce

Rsp: £4.99

From trendy London brand Nojo, this teriyaki sauce can be used as a marinade, cooking sauce or blended into a dressing. The brand says this sauce gets a ”sweet yet piquant taste” from the togarashi spice and is great in a stir-fry.

Borna Lightly Sweetened Pistachio Drink

Rsp: £1.99

The latest nut to star in a milk alternative, this drink from Borna is made with premium pistachios, which give it an “amazingly creamy and rich aftertaste”, according to the brand.

New Roots Organic Free-The-Goat Nature Ricotta

Rsp: £6.99

Made from curdled cashew milk, this “light and airy” vegan cheese can be eaten as it is or used as a dairy-free alternative to ricotta for cheese-heavy dishes like pizza and lasagne.

Mummy Meagz Original Rocky Road Cake Bar

Rsp: £2.09

Made with vegan marshmallows, this indulgent snack bar is filled with biscuit pieces and coated in Belgian dark chocolate.

Upton’s Natural Jackfruit

Rsp: £3.39

Available in Bar-B-Que, Thai Curry, and unseasoned Original varieties, this meat alternative is free from cholesterol, gluten, soy, oil, GMOs and artificial flavours. It makes a great sandwich topped with coleslaw, says Upton’s.

Lazy Day Foods Lazy Millionaire’s Shortbread

Rsp: £2.50

For Veganuary participants who are also dodging gluten, this Millionaire’s Shortbread from Scottish bakery Lazy Day should fill a spot. They’re made with dairy-free caramel, a shortbread biscuit base and a Belgian chocolate topping.

Whole foods beyond meat

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