Starving Dietitian

Soylent Beef


I realize the Soylent card has been played, and played, and played some more. But trust me when I say it’s far from dead. Every time a simple joe happens to create his own tube feeding formula the term rears its nasty head.

The word Soylent is itself quite ironic since the climax of the movie revealed, Gasp!, Soylent was human meat, or a mixture of sorts. Keep in mind the film was shot at the height of the “soy revolution”. When food companies discovered they could slurry, fluff, and cook soy protein into TVP – textured vegetable protein.

Never heard that term before? Shame on you, I can guarantee you’ve eaten it enough times to have seen it on a label.

In the food industry, we call this “imitation meat”. The best I can describe it is a dry protein sponge ground to resemble different grades of ground meat.

Still think you’ve never eaten it?  That’s cute.

Here’s a spaghetti that uses TVP in place of any and all actual meat. 

Hmm looks pretty meaty doesn’t it…


This is what we call a “large grade TVP sausage”, obviously no meat there but when you hydrate and put it in a mix of , say eggs for instance, few people can tell the difference. In fact, those who can tell the difference are almost always Food Scientists themselves. You’re starting to question that value meal breakfast burrito you ate this morning. I can tell. Was it beef? The texture wasn’t quite beefy, a little chewy. Brother, join the club. TVP has done an excellent job of staying out of the public lime-light. It boosts protein content, is dirt cheap, and most people are none the wiser.

And that my friend, is why it’s going to be around for a very long time. As we learned from Where’s the Beef, meat is expensive. Most of the R&D money isn’t going towards making meat cheaper, but  making plants more meat-like. Take the newest brain child of Beyond Meat, a company specializing in tricking your taste-buds. grilled1
I kid you not, there is no meat in that product. So now you can glimpse what the Millennial generation will be feeding their children. Two parts Vidameat with a side of Chicken-Free Strips. The thought can be a little discomforting at times so don’t dwell too much.

Ultimately it will  free us to rethink what meat is, was, and can be.

Be good to each other.

-J. Iufer

Still grossed out? Share your thoughts in the comments!

One comment

  1. Pingback: Protein Insectum | The Starving Dietitian

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