Real turkey still ahead despite growing fake meat market
CGTN's Global Business
When vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians sit down at the Thanksgiving table this week, there's one thing they may all be thankful for: a tasty, plant-based alternative to turkey — what some call the "tofurkey."
Plant-based alternatives have been revolutionizing the meat market for years, thanks in part to companies such as Impossible Burger, Beyond Burger, reports Reuters. Such firms account for about five percent of U.S. meat purchases as more customers pay attention to their own health, animal welfare and the environmental stresses of raising animals for meat consumption. Tofurky, a tofu turkey, hit the market some 25 years ago and now sells 400,000 roasts each holiday season.
However, at Ashley Farms in New Jersey, production manager Scott Ashley said his company is still going strong despite the growing demand for fake meat.
"So, we've increased the amount, the amount of turkeys we grow, basically because of demand. We used to be around five or 6,000. We're seeing that there's a lot of our repeat customers. But now there's also a lot of new faces coming in too. So, that's good to see. So, with that, it's a good problem to have. We've gone up to 7,000," Scott Ashley, Ashley Farms Production Manager said.
But that may be because both types of meat are acceptable for customers these days.
"I think I've had some customers tell me that they're having a turkey with an additional Tofurkey. So, I mean, I guess it's out there. I don't... I don't hear a lot of it. But, you know, I've heard a couple people say, 'Well, we're having your turkey and the tofurkey also." So, I mean, to each their own."
Major turkey producers say they're coming up with its own vegetarian options as a growing number of Americans become so-called flexitarians, defined as one wading in and out of vegetarianism.
But for Ashley, the traditional way to celebrate the Day is always better, and he does not plan to follow this trend in the near future: "I think, I like my meat coming from animals. That's just my perspective on it."