When ‘Meat’ Is Really Meat

May 18, 2021

The discussion over alternative meat marketing is sizzling as Texas lawmakers ruminate on a bill that limits the meaning of meat.

House Bill 316, approved by the Texas House of Representatives, would block any insect, plant, or cell-based meats from using the labels “meat,” “pork,” “poultry,” or “beef.” Arkansas, Missouri, and Mississippi have similar bills in place, which are experiencing legal challenges for violating free speech.

While pushback on the bill comes from alternative meat companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, proponents say the restrictions would benefit meat eaters and meat avoiders alike.

Our goal here today with this bill is to have clear and accurate labeling, so the consumer has no doubt what they’re purchasing,” said Rep. Brad Buckley, who introduced the bill. “The most frequent call I’ve gotten is from vegetarians that are for this bill.

Timing is everything. The bill comes as Impossible Food’s “We Are Meat” campaign hits national TV with the message that their plant-based product isn’t like meat; it is meat.

It’s raising eyebrows – and questions – about whether the application of the word “meat” without a plant-based modifier meets the Federal Trade Commission’s framework for deceptive marketing.

Tangent: In the midst of all the ‘meat’ meaning hoopla, Memphis Meats is rebranding as “Upside Foods.” You know what they say about coincidences…

Upside Foods says the new name represents the meat they are creating has only the upside – none of the downsides they associate with animal-based meat.