How fake meat burgers could save the world

Value for money: The “Impossible Slider” costs just $1.99 — much less than most vegan burgers.

Could fake meat ever replace the real thing? White Castle, one of America’s most famous burger chains, has branched out into selling the “Impossible Slider” — an advanced vegan burger.

What’s happening

White Castle has long been known as one of the main homes of the American burger. Its original “slider” has been called “the most influential burger of all time”. But last week the fast-food chain added a new item to its menu: the meatless “Impossible Slider”. And people are loving it.

Find out more

This type of vegan burger really does taste and feel like meat. It uses heme, a substance found in plants and meat, to give the product a bloody look and feel. Just like normal burgers, it can come rare, medium or well-done. It also uses coconut oil and plant fats to make it even more meat-like.

This does, however, mean that it is less healthy than many vegan alternatives. But environmentally, it is huge. This type of burger uses 95% less land and 74% less water than a typical beef burger.

According to a 2016 Harris Poll, around 3% of Americans (that’s 9.7 million) follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. In some countries, such as India, many people follow religions that ban eating meat.

Could meat’s days be numbered?

Some say…

Yes it could. Many people already object to eating meat on ethical grounds, but carry on because they think vegetarian or vegan food simply does not taste as good. But technology might change that. Millions of pounds are being poured into growing meat in labs and improving substitutes for meat. We could soon live in a meat-free world.

Others think…

No chance. In many parts of the world people are too poor to worry about whether eating meat is right or wrong. Hundreds of millions of people around the world rely on raising, selling and killing livestock for their living. One new type of burger will not change these ancient habits, however good it tastes. Humans will always be carnivores.

You Decide

  1. Do you think you will ever be a vegetarian or a vegan?

Activities

  1. Draw a diagram showing how a vegan burger is made.

Some People Say...

“Eating meat is not cruel. Most other animals do it.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Slider
A small hamburger.
Influential
Important, making a big difference.
Alternatives
Options, other choices.
Ethical
Whether something is right or wrong.
Carnivores
Meat-eaters.

Subjects

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