In a new video posted online, far-right instigator Marjorie Taylor Greene claims the government wants to monitor every aspect of our lives, including what we eat.
“They want to know if you’re eating a cheeseburger, which is really bad because Bill Gates wants you to eat his fake meat growing in a peach dish,” Greene said. “So you’ll probably get a little zap inside your body and it’ll be like, ‘no, don’t eat a real cheeseburger. You have to eat the fake burger, fake Bill Gates meat.'”
If someone serves me meat that Bill Gates grew in a peach dish, I’ll *immediately* call the gazpacho police.
Do not even think about it. https://t.co/nLt1hnBuAe
— Rachel Vindman 🌻 (@natsechobbyist) May 30, 2022
Greene’s video is the latest example of right-wing efforts to politicize meat alternatives to get his base to vote for them and against those who are allegedly plotting to take away their Big Macs. Since the vast majority of these claims are easily disproven and make us all a little dumber just by hearing them (peach meal?), we should ignore them, right?
Bad. The problem is that, as silly as these statements are, the more they are repeated, the more likely they are to become entrenched in the collective consciousness of consumers and risk becoming widely accepted folk wisdom.
So what should the food tech industry do about it? The most important thing is not to be complacent and to be clear in your messages about your industry and your product, so that misinformation does not fill the void.
What exactly should the message be? Here are some ideas:
No one takes animal meat from anyone. Let’s face it: there’s really nothing more “American” than eating a big slice of red meat, and if Americans think they’ll be forced to do anything (or have something taken away something they like), many will react negatively out of reflex. The alternative meat industry needs to be clear that its goal is to make plant-based and cultured meat good enough for consumers to choose over alternatives. And those who want to continue paying ever-higher prices for traditional factory-farmed meat will still have that option. Speaking of higher prices…
Real meat has a lot of problems, including a rising price. One of the reasons red meat Americans might actually consider an alternative is that real meat has many problems, including being a carrier of viruses, it’s cruel, and often unhealthy. But perhaps the biggest negative for ordinary Americans when it comes to meat is that it is getting much more expensive. Alternatives to processed meat could not only be just as good and healthier, but there’s a good chance they’ll also be more affordable in the future.
There are many options when it comes to meat substitutes. Not all meat alternatives are created equal. There are plant-based alternatives that rely heavily on science to taste like the real thing, there’s real meat grown in bioreactors instead of animals, and there are alternatives to meat that don’t claim to be meat at all. There are many options for different preferences, and the industry should try to be clear if one doesn’t suit your needs, another might.
Stop using terms like “synthetic meat”. I’m looking at you, Bill Gates. doors used the term in an interview with MIT Technology Review, despite the fact that the type of meat he invested in with Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats) is not synthetic at all. It’s real meat, only instead of being grown on an animal, it’s grown in a bioreactor. While it may sound nitpicky, terms like “synthetic” and “lab-produced” – though often misapplied – really put off consumers and are easily weaponized by culture-warrior-minded politicians. looking for their next grievance to make hay on social media. .
The reality is that the politicization of meat is only going to intensify, and if the alternative protein industry is to avoid becoming a victim of the political culture wars, it needs to get its message straight and do it fast.