Farmer Focus: Plant-based “beef” burger – just a load of tofu

I’m not going to waste my breath talking about Veganuary. I have had a look at the sales analysis of cattle going out of our yard, and it was a record-breaker for us.

It was 14% higher than last January, with 253 animals sold.

This was preceded by a record-breaking December, with 276 animals sold – a 24% increase year on year.

Yes, I know there are a lot of variables and it’s a fairly crude way of measuring productivity, but it definitely shows an upward trend.

About the author

Doug Dear
Livestock Farmer Focus writer
Doug Dear farms 566ha (1,400 acres) of arable land growing wheat, spring and winter barley, maize and oilseed rape and runs a custom feedyard, contract-finishing about 2,400 cattle a year near Selby, North Yorkshire. Most cattle are finished over 90-120 days for nine deadweight outlets, as well as Selby and Thirsk markets.
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Hats off to the beef processors, as they have “stood on” with the fat price and maintained the kill in the face of Covid-19 chaos and absences.

I know for a fact one of our processors was down at least 60 people in the boning hall.

See also: Beef and lamb markets: Will record-breaking prices continue?

From what I can see, plant-based “beef” burger ingredients are a marketer’s dream.

They are just a load of tofu, made with “ethically” produced soya, and salt, and sold for a quid more than the real beef equivalent.

I read with interest that the share price of the British consumer goods company Unilever dropped by 10% during 2021. The shareholders were not happy, and they launched an inquiry.

The general outcome was that management was completely obsessed with publicly displaying sustainability at the expense of focusing on the fundamentals of its core business.

This is a major trap that UK agriculture could fall into.

For goodness’ sake, our core business is to produce food and to produce it by working with the environment, not at the cost of the environment.

The whole system is getting skewed totally towards the environment. Let’s face it, we only think about food when we are hungry.

Then we have Ed Shearling, or whatever his name is, pontificating to the “wokeflake” nation about how he’s going to spend his immense wealth on rewilding Britain.

Why doesn’t he act like a proper popstar and trash hotel rooms, get loads of tattoos and launch cars into his swimming pool?

Stop the press, his legal team has been on –  it’s not a swimming pool, it’s a wildlife pond.