Why vegans eat food shaped like meat products
This is a question we get asked a lot, so let’s take a look at the issue.
First of all, it is important to note that vegans transition for a variety of reasons, from a variety of backgrounds and all at different times.
The majority of us were not born vegan although there is a growing number of vegetarian and vegan children.
At some point either as young adults or further down the line we have made a decision to stop eating animals.
Food is the most important part of transitioning to get right – everyone needs it, and no one wants to be having to completely reinvent what they eat.
The main reasons that people will go vegan are for the animals, for the environment and for their health.
We always say the reason they stay vegan is for the animals.
So given we have a number of ways in which we access veganism, doesn’t it make sense that some of us will go down the meat substitute route while others don’t.
I have been vegan so long I have never really liked the meat substitutes so I avoid them where possible.
My husband, on the other hand, likes the substitutes and happily tries everything out there, whether it be fishless fingers, ‘no chicken’ strips or realistic vegan sausages.
I have always thought some of them are too realistic but then if you are a vegan who previously liked the taste and texture of meat then there is so much out there for you to try.
For a lot of people, particularly more recent converts, you don’t stop suddenly enjoying the taste – it’s the animals you want to avoid - so all of these products tap into that market. It is also great to see so many alternatives out there and at all price points.
There is also a conscious decision by supermarkets to place plant based substitutes next to the animal equivalent (as well as in their own ‘free from’ aisles). In my opinion this is a good idea as it means people who may not consider going to the ‘free from’ aisle will see these kinder products and hopefully try them.
There have been recent campaigns to stop plant-based foods being called by their previously used animal names – burgers and sausages being two which immediately spring to mind.
But they are just names of shapes and have been used for decades in plant based alternatives – the Collins English Dictionary describes a burger as a “flat round mass of minced meat or vegetables”.
But then you could also extend that attachment to how we think words should be used to describe food, to products like hot dogs (no dogs in them), shepherd’s pie (no shepherd in them either), toad in the hole (no toad) to see how daft it is and that it really shouldn’t matter what they are called.