Of late, there’s been a wave of stores cropping up where you can buy steaks, Korean BBQ, and about any other traditional meat product you can think of, and none of them contain so much as a trace of animal product, including eggs or dairy.
Enter the vegan butcher shop (hat-tip to HuffPo).
There’s something unsurprising about this development. After all, grocery stores carry plant-based meat, celebrities are investing in it, and the FDA now recognizes it as safe. Whole shops dedicated to the sale of vegan wares was only a matter of time.
And it’s not all one ingredient acting as the substitute for meat: mushroom, seitan, jackfruit, and the now-famous pea protein are all used to create the alt-meats these stores sell. But unlike the old days, when a steak made from mushroom tasted like, well, a mushroom, these products mimic the look, taste, and sometimes the texture of an actual burger, carne asada, or pulled pork. Yes, the industry still has some pieces to get right (At SKS 2018, I heard folks talking about the need for better texture), but we’re a far cry from the days when vegan meat meant a limp patty that appeared to have been run over by an 18-wheeler.
PETA has a list of these shops, for those interested in checking them out.
The fact that these shops are in cities from Los Angeles to Minneapolis, rather than, say, just obvious places like NorCal, is also a strong indicator of plant-based meat’s growing popularity. It’s improbable we’ll see a vegan butcher shop in Sioux City anytime soon, but the mere fact that we can say “improbable” rather than “impossible” feels like progress.