Eat Your Meat. Now, With Veggies

Meat companies are beginning to market burgers with the veggies already blended in
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 16, 2020 10:10 AM CDT
Meat Companies Say: Eat Your Veggies
This photo shows Applegate Well Carved Organic Asian Style Meatballs, a line of meat-and-veggie meatballs that the company is introducing at grocery stores next month.   (Applegate Farms via AP)

Meat companies are making it easier for you to eat your vegetables by blending them into burgers, meatballs, and sausages, reports the AP. Applegate is introducing a line of meat-and-veggie burgers and meatballs at grocery stores next month. Tyson Foods is already selling a beef-and-pea protein patty, as well as blended sausages. Perdue Farms has chicken-and-vegetable nuggets, while the Better Meat Co., a California startup, makes blended ground beef, pork, and chicken. All are hoping to quell consumers' growing misgivings about meat and its impact on health and the environment. Companies like Tyson have already jumped into pure plant-based products, like its Raised and Rooted pea protein-based nuggets that imitate chicken. That competes squarely with startups like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, which sell plant-based burgers that closely imitate meat.

But David Ervin, Tyson's VP of alternative protein, says internal research shows only 17% of consumers have tried plant-based meat, though 69% would. The top barrier to that: taste. Blended burgers, with the familiar taste of meat, “are an entry point." Applegate is introducing burgers that mix 72% lean organic beef with one-third of a cup of veggies. It's not as juicy as an all-beef hamburger, but the vegetables give it more flavor. One burger has 200 calories and 15 grams of fat; a 73% lean beef burger from Walmart has 340 calories and 30 grams of fat. In some cases, blended burgers are healthier than plant-based ones. Tyson's Raised and Rooted blended burger has 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 260 milligrams of sodium. Impossible Foods' burger has 240 calories, 14 grams of fat, and 370 milligrams of sodium. For now, though, there's one big stumbling block: price. Applegate charges $9.99 for four Well Carved burgers. Aldi charges $5.29 for the same amount of organic beef.

(More burgers stories.)

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