A Consumer’s Guide to Fake Meat


Meat is complex, and faking it isn’t easy. Some of the biggest food companies in Europe and North America have been trying for decades—with mostly dismal results. But over the past year or so, some new offerings and improved older ones with better texture and flavor have come on the market. If you tried one or more meat substitutes years ago and weren’t impressed, or are still shuddering from the experience, it’s time to give them another chance. This guide will help.

Although I’m not a vegetarian, I am an epicure of ersatz meats, a connoisseur of fake fillets. I have been eating them for more than 15 years. I’ve tried mock meats made from soy, wheat gluten, and fungus, as well as various mixtures. I’ve used them in Italian, Tex-Mex, Chinese, Latin-American, and other dishes. I have sprung them on my finicky grade-school-age children from time to time to gauge their reactions (mostly negative, with a few notable exceptions). I’ve also eaten creations made and served only in some expensive Manhattan restaurants. Here, I’ve distilled my experiences into some specific recommendations. I have limited this review to the foods I’ve tried, of course, which means it covers mainly products available in Canada and United States, where I live. [See More]