One of the hottest stocks on Wall Street this year has been Beyond Meat, which went public in May and exceeded all expectations for performance.
Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat are two foods, made with no animal products, that are showing up in restaurants and grocery stores around the country. What makes them unique is that they taste very close to the real thing.
In fact, put to the test, it's been shown that a meat eater could be fooled into thinking they are eating real beef when eating one of these burgers.
The animal-based meat and food industry is taking notice as well. Tyson's is working on its own version of meat substitutes, as is Nestle Foods. There are other large food companies who have plans to bring out these products in the future.
Going even further, there are companies that are growing real meat from cells of animals, thus eliminating the need to factory farm large numbers of animals.
For those who are vegan, some of the current products on the market from Beyond Meat and Impossible Meat might be appealing. However, for those interested in personal health, they should check out the labels.
Look for the total fat content and types of fat in these products, as well as sodium content, and possibly the use of some ingredients that are not whole food, plant-based.
But the promise of these products is not in their consumption by vegans and health-oriented, plant-based food eaters. The promise of these products comes from the potential of getting meat eaters to convert to eating at least some of their meals with plant-based products like this.
Why might they do that? One big reason is environmental and climate change concerns. It turns out that eating plant-based foods is not just good for us as individuals, it's also good for the health of the environment.
And because of that, our personal health is also affected in a positive way. We need our food to be grown in nutritious soil. We need clean water in the production of our foods. We need adequate water in the production of our foods. We need oxygen to breathe, not polluted air. And we need to maintain a stable climate that won't threaten our very existence.
The more plant-based foods we consume, the fewer threats there are to the environment and to climate change from our food production.
That's why these products are so important to us even if we don't directly consume them ourselves. The more people that do eat plant-based because of these products, the healthier we will all be.
That's the promise that Wall Street sees with these products. It is a revolution that must happen.
J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on healthy lifestyles.