Plant-based ‘Wagyu’ taking it a step too far
THE notion of fake food has become absurd. Sorry, even more absurd.
We’ve got fake beef, fake milk, fake chicken and fake bacon.
Yet none of those who brand themselves with these names should be able to use the word beef, milk, chicken or bacon. For they are none of those.
But, undeterred, the fake food industry is now seeking to take on specific varieties of food to piggyback off.
The Weekly Times this week reveals that a joint venture of two Australian companies has developed what they call plantbased Wagyu.
Yep. They are now saying their plant food is mimicking a specific breed of cattle.
Wagyu is the Japaneseorigin breed of cattle whose trademark is the high degree of marbling, or fat, in its cuts of meat.
It has been the preserve of high-end restaurants for the past decade, commanding $100 or more for a steak.
In recent years, the Wagyu name has appeared further down the food chain on fastfood menus.
But despite this apparent down-market move, the Wagyu name still has the aura as the prince of beef.
And that, presumably, is why this venture has decided to ride on its coat-tails.
The plant-based ’Wagyu’ it has developed has a soya bean base with a flavour developed by a food flavouring company. It is also claimed to be high in fibre.
The picture of the cooked product gives it the distinct appearance of cooked, seasoned chicken. Certainly not like a cooked Wagyu steak, which virtually sparkles due to the high levels of fat.
You couldn’t find two more contrasting foods in appearance.
I can’t comment on taste. The Australian Wagyu Association had described the move to label a plant-based food as its breed as “nonsensical”.
I would have expected an even stronger response, just before picking up the phone to the lawyers.
I would be very cranky that another type of food is attempting to cash in on hundreds of years of breeding, decades of promotion, and careful cultivation of chefs and restaurants as to the high value of Wagyu.