And here’s the thing: There isn’t a scrap of animal protein in anything you just ordered. No beef, no chicken, no eggs, no cheese. That new shop you just visited is one of a wave of vegan butcher shops popping up in the United States, Canada and Europe. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) estimates that in one year, the number of vegan butcher shops in North America has quadrupled, from two to eight. With online ordering and in-grocery options, it’s now possible for anyone, anywhere, to try vegan meat.
While these purveyors look like traditional meat butchers, they’re actually using plant proteins to create deceptively delicious copycat items, using ingredients like jackfruit, seitan (cooked wheat gluten), lentils, oats, mushrooms and vegetables.
Meet the new generation of vegan butchers, who have discovered some genius hacks to trick you, your brain and your taste buds into eating more plants and consuming less meat. These meatless meat markets are selling products that look and taste just like the real thing, and people increasingly are tasting them and asking for more.
As we take a closer look at the amount of meat we eat, and the effect meat-eating has on our health and the environment, it seems as though vegan butchers’ time has come. We’re increasingly looking for ways to reduce our meat consumption, and scientists and public health officials are saying it’s a good idea. According to the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, diets high in plant-based foods and low in animal-based foods “offer significant health benefits, along with climate and other environment benefits, including more efficient use of land, water, nitrogen and other resources.”