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Beyond Meat Beast Burger package

Meat industry group takes on ‘fake meat’

NCBA discusses how it continues to educate consumers and policy-makers on oversold claims of alternative meat products.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) leaders redoubled their efforts to push back against deceptive and erroneous marketing and nutritional claims by plant-based and lab-created alternatives to real beef.

In the opening general session of the cattle industry’s annual Summer Business Meeting on July 30, Colin Woodall, NCBA senior vice president of government affairs, and Alisa Harrison, senior vice president of global marketing and research, highlighted how NCBA continues to educate consumers and policy-makers about the benefits of real beef and the often oversold claims of "fake" meat products.

“While meat substitutes have certainly attracted a lot of media hype over the past couple of years, data shows that real beef maintains 99.5% of the retail market versus only 0.5% for meat substitutes,” Harrison pointed out. “Meanwhile, real beef consumption continues to grow, and even consumers who sometimes choose to buy plant-based alternatives continue to eat real beef as often as they always have.”

Woodall focused on the need for the federal government to ensure that beef nomenclature is protected in the marketing and labeling of fake meat. He also said the organization will continue to educate consumers about what exactly is in the plant-based fake meat products that are available in supermarkets and restaurants.

“When consumers buy a steak or a pound of ground beef, they’re buying one ingredient: beef,” Woodall said. “But when they buy one particular fake meat product, they’re buying pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, cellulose from bamboo, methyl cellulose, potato starch, maltodextrin, yeast extract, vegetable glycerin, dried yeast, gum arabic, citrus extract, ascorbic acid, beet juice extract, acetic acid, succinic acid, modified food starch and annatto. Anyone who thinks that these fake meat products are more nutritious or more natural than real beef is very mistaken, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure people know that.”

The 2019 Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting kicked off on Monday and will run through Thursday. Over the next few days, various NCBA policy committees will meet to discuss and set policy positions for the next year.

TAGS: Policy
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