Animal Nutrition Views
Ioannis Mavromichalis, Ph.D., gives his views on poultry, pig and dairy nutrition based on his experience as a nutrition consultant with clients around the world.
Thinking about this new trend from outside the box of someone involved in the ‘original’ industry, but with the knowledge and experience gained from inside it.
I keep reading about “egg-free eggs,” “milk and butter minus the cows” and “plant-based or cultured meat.” I get it. Some people want to become vegetarians or vegans but they don’t like the taste of green beans and broccoli, whereas others want to create a marketing trend to capitalize on it. It is a free world, more or less, so good for all of them, and I will be among the first to give these new products a try – out of curiosity, like most of us. So far, so good.
What I really do not get about all this fuss is why they insist on using the terms eggs, milk, butter and meat if the idea is objection to eating the real thing. I do not see any problem for anyone who wants to replace them, but why fool people into eating animal-like products when they want to eat plants in the first place? I call this marketing hypocrisy, at best. Is this perhaps we realize most people want to eat animal products after all – in our basic instincts, we remain omnivores, no? Or, are these new industries coveting the acceptance of animal products by the majority of population and want to piggyback on that? I believe it is not the vegetarians and vegans that are the target consumer for this new industry trend. I want to believe that vegetarians and vegans, who are already very proud of their lifestyle choices, will be among the first to object to such deceptiveness. And, I believe it is me who is the real target of this new trend. The idea is not to make me a vegetarian or vegan, but entice me to include these items in my shopping list.
So, will I ever consume such animal-like products? This depends on the level of education I already have, the misinformation I am going to receive, and the efforts made to counteract such misinformation. I already know I should eat more vegetables, and I know I do not. So, if all these plant-based alternatives provide me with more vegetable proteins and fibers, I might be convinced to include them into my diet. I know I will not abandon real animal products, but why not expand my horizons? After all, I already eat (some) plants.
But I have questions, like those I have when it comes to feeding my animals. Will these new products be safe? Some plant proteins come with some very powerful poisons. Hydrogen cyanide’s first symptom remains immediate death. Or, will I be frothing at the mouth if I consume an omelet made with an egg replacement based on lupins, which contain a protein with foaming properties similar to egg whites? And, what about all the additives they will have to include to make these egg-free eggs smell, look and taste like the real thing? Will these be safe in the long run, too? Did we not agree to eat healthier?
You see, I am not against new trends. In fact, I welcome them; I even like sushi and bitter melon (I have drawn the line on fermented duck embryos in the egg). But, no matter how open minded I might be, I insist the same rigorous safety standards we already have in the animal product industry be applied to those industries which attempt to copy us. If this happens and I like the product, then why not?