People use the method of, introducing Vegetarian or Vegan alternatives for Meat based food products, as a way of making a person enjoy his interested meat based food without having to kill an animal in the making process of it. But in some cases, when they do these kind of promoting, I've observed that they use terms like,

"It tastes/feels just like chicken/beef/regular meat"

My question is, does the usage of these kind of phrases when promoting vegetarianism, secretly promote it's counter, non-vegetarian, meat product too? As it may kind of make people feel like "the meat product is the actual, good tasting food, but since it kills animals, here's a vegetarian alternative that tastes just like the original."

Is showing Vegetarian food as "Alternatives", the better and more effective way to promote it or is it simply promoting them among the other regular food, normally?

  • It's a bit like diet soda or non-alcoholic beer imo.
    – drat
    Feb 1 '17 at 1:11

Meat substitute products really only exist because humans are used to eating particular meat products - they are ingrained in the culture of many societies, particularly those in the west.

This causes people to resist cutting them out of their diet entirely (due to loss of that part of culture, personal feelings about wanting to eat the meat product again etc.).

The "alternative" products act as a crutch for people - they can go Vegetarian without having to give up on the burger they like to have.

If we lived in an alternate world where people had never eaten meat, there would be no need for meat substitutes, as people wouldn't know what meat tastes like and would not value it in any way.

  • Wrong generalization. Dense-protein-centric dishes work well on a culinary and nutritional level, whether animal or plant based. For example, bean/lentil-centric main dishes are not uncommon in cultures that also eat meat. Mar 2 '18 at 10:10
  • @rackandboneman I don't see how that makes any difference. If you liked eating a pork hot dogs before going vegetarian, then a soya based hot dog allows you to continue eating hot dogs. The availability of alternatives that are naturally meat free is not relevant.
    – Daveoc64
    Mar 2 '18 at 13:54
  • If we see a hot dog as a dish for which meat is commonly used as an ingredient, how is one that doesn't have meat any different... The name doesn't guarantee any ingredient composition either, given these are often served tepid and often do not contain any dog. Mar 2 '18 at 15:12
  • But perhaps we wouldn't have bean patties with veggies between two slices of bread, which is darn tasty. In some cases what is originally a meat substitute sparks great veggie ideas in it's own right. Apr 13 '18 at 0:21

The question is largely opinion-based. It means it's difficult to give an objective answer and all possible answers will largely rely on personal beliefs.

In my opinion "veg* alternatives" are in the "grey area" of things that can help omnivorous people to get curious and possibly accept veg* foods, and at the same time have the kind of effect you remarked in your question.

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