Why Does It Look and Taste Like Meat

Ethan Brown being interviewed by Nilay Patel (in bold):

You are describing how to replace meat. Making it so that your expectations of cooking and eating a Beyond Meat Burger are exactly the same as your expectations of a hamburger patty. Is that the right goal? Is it that people need hamburgers that are exactly like hamburgers of the past or is it we have to change our food supply?

My mother asks me that question a lot. She’s like “Why are you so focused on perfectly replicating animal protein? Why don’t you just build a new source of protein for the front of the plate that people get really excited about?” I think we ought to earn that right. We have to prove that we can do this because the only thing that I know with absolute certainty about the consumer is that the consumer loves meat. You know most of us do. Around 94 percent of the population here in United States. And so that’s a really clear target for me.

I often have conversations with non-vegans who ask why vegan products try to replicate non-vegan foods. The short and simple is because that’s the easiest way to become part of people’s lives, in ways they’re already familiar and have a base-level expectation. Anything that’s around 1:1 for replacing parts of a recipe is the ideal product for most of America.

It’s hard enough to get people to try a slight variation in something they’re already familiar with. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to get most of America to purchase a new protein that they’ve never heard of before.

Beyond is doing the right thing.