Despite whatever preconceptions you might have of plant-based food and the people who eat it as hippy-dippy peace and love types, in business the vegan food industry shows its teeth.
If you’re someone who watches this industry, you already know that brand competition can sometimes be a little less than friendly. Earlier this year, U.K. brand Meatless Farm put out an ad campaign that attacked competing brand Quorn practically by name—the “Make it Meatless, not Quorny” slogan is difficult to interpret as anything else. You might also remember when Lightlife published an open letter in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal last year criticizing Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods for supposedly using fillers, GMOs, and synthetic ingredients. Both brands struck back: Beyond released a statement clarifying that their products actually don’t use GMOs or synthetic additives, and Impossible questioned the legitimacy of judging a product’s health on the number of ingredients it contains.
Competition is the basis of capitalism: it pushes companies to serve customers better by putting out higher quality products at lower prices than their competitors. But one has to wonder whether this kind of infighting is actually benefiting the plant-based market or whether it’s only serving to undermine the collective goal of moving towards a world where fewer animal products are consumed.