Plant-based meat brand Beyond Meat is being accused of not being vegan for letting staff eat animal-derived meat in its taste tests in order to confirm if its plant-based meat products taste similar to animal-derived meat.
A vegan took to Twitter to accuse Beyond Meat of not being vegan for letting its employees, entrepreneurs, and investors eat animal-derived meat to compare the taste to that of the brand’s products during development.
The vegan posted a a screenshot of his conversation with the brand, with the caption: “PSA to vegans: I can no longer support Beyond Meat after this conversation. These ‘vegan’ meat companies just want money. They don’t care about animals, buy a bean burger.”
According to Beyond Meat, its goal is to make products that could replicate the taste and texture of meat using only plant-based ingredients.
The brand added: “To do that our team does partake in chewing the actual meat we are replicating, but they always spit it out after completing the testing. This is simply part of the research and development process.”
The tweet exposing Beyond Meat sparked a debate in the vegan community, with some calling the author of the post a “purist.”
A vegan Twitter user said: “So how the [expletive] do you expect them to make a good product if they dont have meat eaters compare it to meat ??????????? Like ???”
“It’s extremely unlikely that Beyond Meat would be as successful as they are without doing taste comparisons. Although I don’t support their use of meat, it was necessary in order to create a product so realistic which will in turn prevent the consumption of millions of animals,” another vegan wrote on Twitter.
“We tell non vegans to go vegan, we tell them how easy, accessible, & affordable it is. And then when an easy, accessible, & affordable vegan option comes out, purist vegans tear it apart. I don’t think this is the way to get veganism more widespread,” said another.
Another vegan added: “Y’all need to stop attacking these new plant based burgers. They’re some of the most powerful tools we have in moving towards a vegan world. It’s not for you? Cool. But trying to undermine products that will spare millions of animals’ lives is hugely counterproductive.”
A vegan also commented that he would rather have a few cows die once for millions to be saved in the future as Beyond Meat is able to make a huge difference in making people vegan.
However, some vegans supported the author of the post, saying: “I love beyond meat, would tattoo the taste of their burgers to my tongue forever, but why did they need to make their employees taste meat then ‘spit it out’? why not just have non vegans taste test? why buy animal products just to compare? i am confused.”
In response, the author of the original tweet said: “I want to make this CLEAR. I think Impossible and Beyond are MASSIVELY helping the environment and human health, and should be considered before real flesh. I just think as activists we should pressure the companies to make statements saying they will never exploit animals again.”