Really insightful, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, discussion between two editors at The Outline discussing the possibility of shifting the entire fast food market to "fake meats" en masse. Very thought provoking, and includes this lovely exchange:
Drew: I am completely in agreement with you about the fact that factory farming is evil. I once interviewed A$AP Rocky around the time he’d become a vegetarian, and he explained his lifestyle change to me in a way that I’ll never forget: “You gotta look up what they do to those fucking chickens, man.” I’m not sure that’s the exact quote, but A$AP Rocky inspired me to look up what they do to those fucking chickens, and it’s bad.
HOWEVER. I submit to you that fast food meats are only “meat” because they have not invented another category for “technically living organisms that have been genetically fucked up to the point that they don’t actually fulfill the functions of any animals, let alone the animal they’re supposed to be.” Corporations have a mandate to maximize their profits, and I suspect that if science invented a way to do away with those animal-ish being altogether and instead engineer something that looked, tasted, and smelled like actual meat, they would very quickly figure out how to scale this new meat method in a way that would simultaneously be much cheaper for them and, since regulations tend to take a while to catch up to new technologies, much more dangerous for us.
The recent wave of fast food companies introducing fake meat products, I would argue, stem from this wish to lower their production costs, and therefore should be viewed with skepticism and suspicion. Saying that all fast food meat should be fake is basically taking the handcuffs (hamcuffs?) off the Hamburglar. How does it feel to be a libertarian.
Brandy: Respectfully, I simply cannot consider “fake meat would make Burger King bad for you” a persuasive argument. Would we probably end up with new and different cancers? Sure, that seems likely, but since climate change is melting permafrost to reveal and unleash long-dead super pathogens anyways I think that on the whole doing what we can to lessen our dependence on factory farming is a smart choice. I admire your commitment to keep fucking this chicken, though.
Drew: I’m trying to consider this on a hierarchy of fucking, and in such a hierarchy, sadly, the chicken has to get fucked...
I've tried a number of different "fake meat" products in the past few years, including Beyond Meat's "Beyond Burger" (yuck) and "The Impossible Burger" (shockingly good). I am all for shifting humanity's food sources in ways that will be a net positive impact on the planet, our bodies, and our values, but I tend to agree with Drew here that any such transition should be done thoughtfully, in concert with food researchers, and in coordination with the market.