Whenever a company springs up and offers a new product that’s deemed as being plant-based, it’s usually met with celebration and a warm welcome into the industry. However, one of the world’s largest food companies has recently introduced a product that’s referred to as “plant-based”– yet doesn’t truly live up to the title.
Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest meat companies, recently announced its new brand “Raised & Rooted,” which offers alternative proteins. According to Entrepreneur, one of the brand’s products is a pea-based nugget that also contains eggs (and possibly milk), yet is marketed as plant-based. In fact, Raised & Rooted has advertised the nuggets as being “100 percent plant-based” in a press release.
First of all, it is important to recognize Tyson Foods for its introduction of the meat alternative child company. Any company offering meat alternatives, especially a large company like Tyson Foods, is indicating a step in the right direction for a better future. What this means is the promotion of more plant consumption and less meat consumption, which results in less environmental impact, healthier diets, and less animal suffering and violence. As the Raised & Rooted brand continues to grow and develop (and assuming it begins to use terminology correctly), it can only help the progression of the plant-based movement.
However, it is wrong and simply misleading for Raised & Rooted to call its nuggets a plant-based food, when that is not the case. Tyson’s idea was to co-opt the plant-based term, using it to mean “contains plants.” However, the plant-based term has already been defined clearly to represent food that is 100% plant-based and free of any animal-derived ingredients. When vegans shop for food, it is widely accepted and understood that plant-based foods are vegan. Essentially, Tyson Foods’ continued use and false advertisement with the phrase “plant-based” is inadvertently deceptive and can cause confusion for consumers and others within the industry.
If you currently enjoy a vegan or plant-based lifestyle, it pays to be mindful of Tyson Foods/Raised & Rooted’s vegetarian nuggets that are being advertised as “plant-based.”