The Associated Press reports that meat companies, wanting to take advantage of the fake meat trend but also perhaps sensing that there may be a ceiling on the segment's popularity, now are coming up with items that will blend meat with vegetables.
According to the story, "Applegate is introducing a line of meat-and-veggie burgers and meatballs at grocery stores next month. Tyson Foods is already selling a beef and pea protein patty as well as blended sausages. Perdue Farms has chicken-and-vegetable nuggets while the Better Meat Co., a California startup, makes blended ground beef, pork and chicken. More options will arrive this summer for grilling season."
The story quotes David Ervin, Tyson’s vice president of alternative protein, as saying that "internal research shows only about 17% of consumers have tried plant-based meat, even though 69% would consider eating it. The top barrier to trying plant-based meat is taste, he said. Blended burgers, with the familiar taste of meat, 'are an entry point for them to begin to explore that area'."
- KC's View:
I think with lots of sampling, this is a category that could be pretty successful. I'd certainly try some. (I'd add barbecue sauce and grilled onions, which make almost everything taste better.)
One potential roadblock in achieving consumer acceptance is the fact that many of these products are more expensive that ground beef or vegetables might be on their own. The story suggests that this is just because companies are trying to recoup R&D costs, and that prices will come down over time.