The state of vegetarian food

In the past, I’ve mentioned how, for a number of years, I’ve reduced my meat intake (and was even totally veggie for 3 months). To do this, I’ve made use of meat alternatives, such as those provided by Quorn.

But as the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular, the supermarkets are finally trying to compete with these well known brands. However, the quality of these products are, shall, we say lacking – if it’s not battered, it’s covered in breadcrumbs. There’s a lack of anything that you’d add to other ingredients – it’s all meat-free chicken nuggets and the like (just take a look at the picture above). And, sadly, the quality of the Quorn products has dropped significantly too – seemingly to match.

I started writing this post (and took the picture) before the current pandemic took hold – the freezers now look less full but the issue is even more relevant, as all that often remains are the worse of these items.

Okay, I know, vegetarian equivalents of meat is not the only thing “vegetarian” out there. But it’s comfort food – in that it’s a recognisable translation for those trying to ease from eating meat to not doing so. You’ll never sell a lifetime carnivore on a vegetarian lifestyle by placing a nut-cutlet in front of them. A nice, meat-free lasagne or burger, though, will be different.

With that off my chest, let’s return back to the issue here.

My favourite Quorn product were their “Meat Free Steak Strips”. They were designed to be added to a sauce but I loved dry frying them with some seasoning and adding to a salad. Now, you can’t buy them. As Quorn tries to compete with all the new competitors, it too has turned to the complete items, that you just pop into an oven, but is rather unhealthy.

Most days now, my salad is paired with sausages – Quorn or Linda McCartney sausages. Occasionally, it may be a Quorn burger of some kind. Everything else, slathered in batter or breadcrumbs, is pretty terrible (okay, nice to eat but terrible, health-wise).

It’s such a shame and I can see this reduction in quality and choice as something that, long term, will put off people who are trying to reduce meat intake, rather than give it up entirely.

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