OPINION

Plant-based meat trend's bit hard to swallow

SURPRISE: The plant-based meat patties I tried didn't taste like real steak or lamb - but neither do actual meat patties.
SURPRISE: The plant-based meat patties I tried didn't taste like real steak or lamb - but neither do actual meat patties.

The current "plant-based meat" craze isn't the first time a product has been released on the Australian public, attempting to taste like something else.

When I was a lad, there was this product at the supermarket called I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. I can't believe they didn't branch out and make better products.

I could have told them I Can't Believe It's Not Water wouldn't float. I Can't Believe It's Not Dynamite also bombed.

Apparently, I Can't Believe It's Not Alcohol sold extremely well, until too many police officers and random breath testing units couldn't believe it either.

I've pitched to the company numerous times my own idea for a product - I Can't Believe It's Not Money - but they won't buy it. Fools! I Can't Believe It's Not Money would surely increase consumer spending without decreasing consumer savings, and so it's guaranteed to strengthen our economy. These guys can't see opportunity when it's right in front of their faces!

In 2018, the Australian cricket team could have entirely avoided the ball-tampering scandal if only the players involved had have used I Can't Believe It's Not Sandpaper.

And that suspension of the 34 AFL players at Essendon in 2015 and 2016 for using performance-enhancing drugs was unfair. Clearly these players thought they were being injected with I Can't Believe They're Not Supplements.

A few days ago, a mate of mine and I - after weeks of enduring each other's whinging about everyone else talking about plant-based meat - agreed that the only way to shut each other up was to go and eat some.

So we went to a fast-food restaurant - that will remain shameless - and bought some plant-based meat hamburgers.

To my surprise, they did taste good and much like usual hamburgers.

The plant-based meat tasted like meat ... well, it's more a case of the plant-based meat patties tasted like meat patties.

Now, they didn't taste like real steak or real lamb. But then again, neither do actual meat patties.

Yet, I'm still that little bit suspicious of this whole plant-based meat phenomenon.

As I pointed out in a previous column, this year's best actor Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix used part of his acceptance speech to criticise farmers for artificially inseminating cows and then stealing milk meant for their babies.

At last month's Golden Globes, meat was taken off the menu entirely.

Cooking entrepreneur Martha Stewart served plant-based meatballs to her guests at Christmas without telling them it wasn't meat.

Who cares, right? Who listens to celebrities?! Well, maybe this is all going to heat up in a way we didn't expect.

Many people tell me that they are sceptical about religion. That would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that they are at the same time so willing to swallow the latest fad food, diet or financially-motivated political movement.

On Monday, a man went on trial in a Perth Magistrates Court accused of stealing an 11-day-old calf from a farm in the dead of night. He was allegedly helped by two other vegan activists.

Reports said that the activist has pleaded not guilty and will claim that he was saving the calf.

Living in a farming region of rural Australia perhaps makes me a little biased against these kinds of activists - but so does common sense.

Are vegan activists going to try and prevent cats from eating birds? Birds from eating fish? Will they eventually attempt to prevent humans from eating fish?

If some vegan activists are allegedly breaking into farms, then perhaps some activists have already become unreasonable.

Just as soy "milk" isn't milk, plant-based meat isn't meat ... so why are we calling it meat?

And if they're plant-based, then what plants are they? And if it's only based on plants, then what is the rest of plant-based meat constituted from?

Many people tell me that they are sceptical about religion.

That would be fine if it wasn't for the fact that they are at the same time so willing to swallow the latest fad food, diet or financially-motivated political movement.

Maybe potential I Can't Believe It's Not products have many more eager customers out there than we think.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee