Why do vegetarians or vegans eat fake meat?

I don't mean this to be rude or offensive in any way, and I'm not referring to people who don't eat meat for health reasons (like, meat literally makes them sick, kind of people).

But this has been something that has confused me. I'll go to the store and see things like vegetarian meatballs, for example. Products that are meant to mimic meat. I thought that being a vegetarian was about eating vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans, and liking it? When I try to go vegetarian I get upset because a lot of the recipes I find are either trying to mock meat-using ones too much, or simply are covered with things I don't care for. I mean, if I decided for whatever reason I wanted to be a pure carnivore (regardless of the fact that I'd die of malnutrition and I'm sure other things), I don't think I would start eating fake vegetables made out of meat. Ok, yeah, that sounds a lot more disgusting, but it's along the same concept in my mind. Kind of like saying you're against fur, but then going and wearing faux fur 'cause it's so "fashionable".

It just doesn't make sense to me, unless your body is no longer used to eating meat or never was able to process it well, but you want the taste and couldn't eat the real thing because it'd make you sick. Could some vegetarians and/or vegans kindly explain this to me?

Thank you!

28 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some social situations can be very powerful, so much so that disinclusion or rejection from a certain group (e.g., your close friends, your family, your co-workers) may be a significant impact upon you. Thus, at a BBQ, it's easier to make some veggie dogs & veggie burgers for yourself in a way to try and blend in, rather than go against the crowd as either a vegetarian or a vegan.

    Alternatively, some people don't do well under examination. Thus, they may not like being questioned for their eating habits, and prefer to regularly eat fake meats to either 1) cover up their being a vegetarian or 2) give the individuals 1 less thing to make a negative comment upon---I mean, someone whom is against vegetarianism or veganism is less likely to make a criticizing comment if they see the person eating veggie chicken nuggets, even if the vegetarian/vegan-hater KNOWS the are fake meat.

    For the nutritional value. Some people may not consume many significant protein sources, and since fake meats are made out of vegetable protein, they give you a fairly good protein kick, which might be important for some vegetarians or vegans.

    Some vegetarians or vegans actually ENJOY the taste of meat, but their ethical reasons for remaining a vegetarian or vegan override that desire to consume meat. Thus, they can make spaghetti with fake meatballs and FEEL like they can still enjoy the taste they enjoy, without compromising strong ethical views.

    They may not enjoy the taste of real meat (or, alternatively, it may make them literally sick), but somehow came across trying veggie meat, and find they enjoy that. So they eat it because they like the taste, and it does not make them sick. Of course, this reason could also be coupled with one of the previous reasons I gave, like doing this allows them to fit in, or allows them to fulfill ethical wishes [as an individual can NOT ENJOY meat and ALSO feel that eating is wrong].

    Have a great day! =)

  • Lisa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    lol, it definitely doesn't make you less of a vegetarian. I think it's great when someone can get over a craving without sacrificing their beliefs. We can't help it if we get occasional cravings, that's not something someone has control over. Anyways, I eat them occasionally. Maybe once a week. Actually, twice or so a week would be more like my limit if it's homemade, and even less than once a week if it's the processed stuff from the store. Regardless though, for me it's not really about it being a fake version of meat. It might have been back when I was a beginner, but now I don't really regard them as 'fake meats', it's more about them tasting good in what I make. And I definitely don't feel bad or like I'm a bad vegan, cause no animal has to suffer or die for me to get it....it's not real meat. It's completely different.

  • Suzy Q
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Simple. I love the taste and texture of meat. The taste and texture of meat are not my reasons to be a vegetarian. I am a vegetarian because that is the easiest way to decrease the most suffering in the world with the least effort involved.

    So if I can get something like the taste and texture without putting a piece of dead animal on my plate, that's all good. Of course I ALSO eat lots of veggies, fruits, grains and beans, and I do like it. But there is nothing wrong with putting vegetarian mince in my lasagna, using faux chicken in my curry or using a vegetarian patty on my hamburger.

    By the way, I AM against fur, and have absolutely no problem with faux fur. The point is not that I don't like the look, the point is that I am opposed to animals being killed for that look.

  • 8 years ago

    I'm not a vegetarian, but the answer seems pretty obvious to me.

    Most vegetarians have no objection to the taste of meat. No objection to the shapes it's served in. Most vegetarians are vegetarians because of their concern for animals.

    Serving vegetables in such a way that resembles meat is not a problem.

    As for your 'fur' analogy - I find the fur industry utterly repellant, but I was quite happy to buy a coat which has a hood that has fake fur around the rim. My objection to fur is not the look of it - but the animal cruelty.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • lo_mcg
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    Turn the question around: why, if meat-eaters like the taste of meat so much, do they feel the need to spice it, flavour it, add soy and other fillers, shape it into sausage shapes, patties, rashers and other shapes until it no more resembles the cow or pig it came from (in taste or appearance) than it resembles a head of broccoli? See? Same logic, same question.

    One reason fake meats are popular is probably that they make it easier for a new vegetarian or vegan to make the change from eating meat. And they're fine for people who may have a moral objection to eating meat, but who enjoyed and miss it.

    But mostly it's just that they’re different tastes and textures, and who doesn’t crave that in their diet?

    And they don't resemble meat - sausages, patties, rashers etc are just forms, usually made from meat, but they can just as easily be made from seitan, tofu etc. They’re not necessarily meat substitutes, but ways of processing and shaping food. You never saw a round flat animal, after all, or a sausage-shaped or meatball-shaped one, did you? They're just convenient shapes to form the centrepiece to a meal, or to fit into a bun.

    Meat ‘substitutes’ aren’t the healthiest or cheapest food you can eat, but if you’re feeling lazy and uninspired they’re fine now and then And some of them do taste good.

    I went vegetarian in 1969 (I'm vegan now) and for many years there were no fake meats - just TVP chunks which were disgusting. So I lived for many years without them, and could do so again. But I like some of them, so I'll continue to eat them.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I guess ' fake meat ' is packaged to get the attention of former non vegetarians . A lot of people go vegan for reasons like better health or to please a partner . And a lot of them tend to fall back to old habits too . So I guess eating something that resembles what they gave up eases the pressure a bit .

  • 8 years ago

    Fake meat is a vegetarian food so why wouldn't we eat it? There is no conflict here. No animal died. Some vegetarians do not like fake meat products because they dont like the taste of meat, but most of us are vegetarian because we dont like killing animals, so if the meat is fake that is ok. Like the fur thing. One would be against fur because of the killing of animals, not about how it looks, so fake fur would be fine. I dont understand what's not to understand?

  • 8 years ago

    i became vegan because i love animals. sadly, i am guilty of loving the taste of them too. mock meats just expand our vegan diets. They dont even taste liek meat but can replace meat in many foods. veggie burgers taste good. I don't really like the way fake fur looks so i don't buy it (or any other animal fur or skin) but fake furs are not hurting animals and are cuddly and warm and some people find it stylish. whats wrong with wearing fake fur and saying you don't like fur? it doesn't harm any animals and wearing something that mimics fur doesn't mean you support the fur industry.

  • 8 years ago

    I think calling a veggie burger fake meat is odd. I don't consider it meat, just another good thing to eat. "Veggie burger" is a cute name for a patty made of beans. Kinda like "bangers'' is a cute name for sausage. Boca burgers are REAL tasty. Try one! It doesn't taste like beef.

    Marketers call 'fake meat' vegetarian to let customers know that their product does not contain meat and is a usually a product meant to mimic mince.

  • 8 years ago

    Because some vegetarians and or/vegans are only that way because of the fact they are against eating animals.

    So some may still like the taste of meat, but don't agree with the cruelty aspect.

    This way they can enjoy the taste, guilt free.


Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.