BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - For years the Beef Industry has competed with other products as a protein source, whether it was with chicken or pork or fish, and plant based alternatives have always been available. But the Beef Industry is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to the use of the term “beef” by any alternative products. on Gill is a Professor and Livestock Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
“We’ve always had alternatives to beef and there are plant based alternatives that are out there. They always have been. You could go to a steakhouse and never eat a piece of meat and still have a plant based diet so that’s not anything new. The fact that I think we’re trying to protect the term beef and not necessarily meat, that’s been kind of a surprise.”
Gill says that at the National level, the Beef Industry has decided to protect the term “beef” because people are looking to buy beef.
“So the meat, beyond beef burger probably wouldn’t work, beyond meat, maybe, something that they’ll look at. But we are trying to protect the terminology that represents our product directly and I think that’s a lesson that we learned from the dairy industry that we’ve got to be proactive. It didn’t look like a big deal when the first carton of Almond Milk showed up, or Soy Milk, but now it’s quite the business and it’s not the same product.”
The Beef Industry is also trying to make sure that lab grown meat is labeled appropriately and doesn’t get thrown into the same mix as regular meat. Gill sees an interesting conundrum with the plant based alternatives.
“They’re trying to create or replicate a good quality eating experience by mixing chemical compounds together which is interesting because the other move on the anti-meat campaign is to get away from processed meats. Well, these plant based burgers are nothing but processed ingredients piled together and stuck together with chemicals. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays in the crowd that they’re trying to target with that. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to those of us looking on the sidelines.”