I stood in place, neck craning at the illuminated menu. The contents of my stomach fought an uphill battle with my esophagus as I struggled to comprehend what I was beholding. As the seconds passed, my appetite decreased to the point that I could have simply walked out, requesting nothing of the distressed menu that was before me.
The problem? Submitted for your bemused disbelief, the Impossible Whopper:
There is some honesty to be appreciated in the implication that it’s impossible for a Whopper with 0% beef to be considered a hamburger, but any good will that could have been fostered is offset by the fact that the Impossible Whopper is, at its core, an imitation product.
If there’s no beef present, then just what meat is being served? Is it pork? Some variety of browned poultry? No, it’s pretty much a veggie burger. Of course, if the Impossible Whopper were marketed as the fake that it is, it would find it’s way down fewer gullible throats. The imitation burger is instead a lie by omission.
Another trend that’s disturbing is that of lab-grown meat. When I sit down to a steak, I shouldn’t have to ponder whether some lab somewhere successfully synthesized the protein that supports muscle growth, or the B vitamins that upholds brain function. My expectation would be that the steak was once an animal with awareness. If this were not the case, the violation of my expectation would throw my trust in the server into serious jeopardy.
It’s obvious why they’re trying to trick us: if we knew that these imitation meat products were not the real deal, almost none of us would bother with them, except perhaps the vegans who are going so crazy by reason of their ascetic diets that they’re willing to accept look-alikes to fill the void caused by an absence of normal food. But even then, that group is so legalistic that they wouldn’t likely risk the cross-contamination that’s expected at fast-food joints. So what are these proponents of fake meat doing besides trying to trick us?
There are people out there willing to ironically consume something gross just to say they did, but it’s a limited market. Once they’ve tried it once, they’ll move onto pig rectum subs or whatever, then what? What benefit is it to Burger King to leave something on a menu that just a few people are going to try only once? I’m not hungry enough to eat some imitation meat, and if I was starving, I have the benefit of having to choose between a bunch of things I’d rather eat, including durian.
If you can’t out-compete a fruit that smells like farts, you’ve failed.