Although they’re now co-founding a well-funded meat-alternative brand, they previously just spent the last 4 years running their beef burger delivery business.
Andy Shovel and Pete Sharman have been solving problems in food since 2012. Back then it was how to deliver the perfect burger to Londoners’ homes – crucially with minimal product degradation. They founded what is now a small chain of upmarket burger delivery shops called Chosen Bun.
They successfully sold the business to a large fast-food operator in 2016. Now they’re tackling an arguably even more important problem – how to save the world with plant-based meat products. (NOT)MEAT is their new well-funded startup that aims to convert the 97% meat-eater market head-on.
The product sounds great and I applaud your efforts to develop it. However, the way you are discussing veganism is very harmful and I would ask you to please change tack in this regard.
The framing of your argument helps to perpetuate the false stereotype that vegans are militant and patronising people, and moreover, that veganism is “extreme” and unrealistic.
For people living in a developed society, and even for many people living in developing societies, it is a perfectly realistic and achievable diet.
What IS extreme is the slaughter of billions of animals every year when there are a myriad of alternatives available to us that do not involve any animal cruelty.
There is also a very big philosophical and ethical problem that comes with promoting veganism on the sole or primary basis of the fact that there are vegan products that taste like meat available.
This validates the idea that humans possess an unquestionable right to eat animal products (and to cause all the harm that comes with doing so), and that unless an alternative can be offered, then we have a right to continue this prolific abuse of animals.
It is necessary that people understand the ethical reasons for being vegan, otherwise we will never have a satisfactory solution to the problem.
I also see a large issue with the way you have made light of eating a Big Mac, wearing leather, etc. Again, this makes a mockery of the horrors taking place in the animal agriculture industry, and helps to ease people’s guilt about participating in it. I completely agree with you that we have a problem about the way many people perceive veganism – that is, the absurd expectation that vegans must flawlessly carry out their diet, and that any blemishes in their attempts to do so will render them a fraud and “kicked out” of the club.
Again, this is an idea that is perpetuated more by non-vegans than it is by vegans, usually as an excuse for not even giving veganism a go. If somebody tries to go vegan and after a month of being a vegan they have a burger, this is no reason to forget the entire thing.
If this happens, one should simply accept it as a mistake and continue doing their best to be vegan (in exactly the same way we would do in pursuing anything else that we wanted to achieve).
So in that sense I absolutely agree with you that we must promote this idea that we should not expect ourselves to be perfect as vegans (or of course in any regard). However, it is extremely harmful to promote the idea that if you decide to have a burger, or an egg, or some milk every now and again, then it’s all just a bit of a laugh and a giggle and hey mate don’t worry about it.
If anything, THIS attitude will cause people to slide back into a non-vegan lifestyle, if they have given no consideration to the ethical issues and think that dabbling with animal products is acceptable.