Fake Meat Served with Real Sarcasm

Sept. 27, 2022
Dry British wit answers critics of meat analogue products.

There’s a certain social media marketing strategy that can only be described as “wiseguy”: sarcastic, oozing with attitude. It’s arguably best suited to Twitter, with its instant delivery.

Some mainstream food companies use this approach, but it’s more suited to startups, especially in niche fields. They don’t get any more niche than plant-based analogue meat, and they don’t get any more wiseguy than the Twitter presence of Vegan Fried Chick*n.

VFC is an analogue-meat company launched at the end of 2020 in the United Kingdom, whose products are now sold in other European countries and the U.S. Their use of the asterisk in the name is the first clue to a somewhat, um, irreverent attitude. The next comes with a visit to their webpage, where you are confronted with a headline: “Thanks, Colonel. We’ll take it from here.”

Then you get to their “Cluckwit Myths” page, where they take on some of the more ill-informed tweets they have received. And it’s pretty hilarious.

A guy who goes by “Marshal” had this to say: “A catfish was successfully turned female with soy by scientists in June this year ... i’ll never touch a soy product ever!”

To which the VFC folks replied: “[Y]ou are already eating a metric cluck-ton of soy whenever you eat farmed animals. This is because most of the soy grown in the world goes into animal feed, and that, dear lad, goes into you. Noticed anything different lately?”

Another fellow, “James,” remarked, “You are all predators .. predators eat prey .. it is how the universe is set up.” To which VFC replied: “We hate to break it to you James, but you are not a predator. You are a guy who pushes a cart around a grocery store.”

The only quibble I had was with their response to a particularly silly tweet: “But if we don’t kill them, their population will outgrow humans and we will be enslaved by chickens. Is that what you want?”

The response reasonably pointed out: “Farmers don’t spend their time dressed in camo netting sneaking up on chickens so they can knock them down, stuff them in a sack and sell them to stores.” They raise them in commercial coops for slaughter, and “[i]n return, they get a big fat paycheck.” Except I’d like to know how “big and fat” many U.S. poultry farmers consider the payments they get under unfavorable contracts to mega-processors.

But as I said, this is a quibble. It’s going to take something besides an appeal to virtue to kick-start the stagnant market for meat analogues. Who knows, maybe sarcasm will do the trick.

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