How Eating Plant-Based Beyond Meat Products Can Combat Climate Change - Exclusive

Plant-based dining may turn people off if they're not vegetarian or vegan, but animal activism isn't the only reason to give plant-based meat a try. In addition to the questionable ethics surrounding some of the cruelest factory farms, factory farming is a major contributor to the environmental conditions causing global warming — which is already reaching irreparable levels. Between heavy greenhouse gas emissions, heavy water use, and ruining large chunks of land, meat production isn't helping Earth's already fragile environmental state.

While it might seem like an all-or-nothing kind of situation, if everyone replaced meat with plant-based products just once a week, the environmental impact could be significant. During an exclusive interview, Mashed spoke to a Beyond Meat spokesperson and Chef Diana Stavaridis about how Beyond Meat's plant-based products are a more environmentally conscious option. They also explained how replacing meat products with plant-based products just once a week can help combat climate change. 

Saving the climate, one Beyond Meat chicken tender at a time

On how switching to Beyond Meat's plant-based products every once in a while can benefit the environment, the Beyond Meat spokesperson explained, "[We've been] talking about it a lot. We actually did a study with the University of Michigan that looked at all the inputs in producing our burger versus producing a beef burger. The results were pretty incredible." 

She dove into the staggering statistics of the study, adding, "Creating the original Beyond Burger generates 90% pure greenhouse gas emissions, and Chef [Diana Stavaridis] talked about less resources: 99% less water, 93% less land, [and] nearly 50% less energy. It's really impactful. Three times a day, right? You're thinking about the protein at the center of the plate, and even swapping it out a few times a week can have a really amazing impact." So how do we interpret those stats?

"When we say things like '99% less water' ... With the water in an average size swimming pool, you could make around 300 beef burgers or more than 60,000 Beyond burgers," the spokesperson elaborated. "We're very conscientious of our water use. It's amazing that we can have this delicious option and do so in a way that's better for us and better for the planet."

A healthier you and a healthier environment

However, plant-based eating isn't just better for the environment — it's also a much healthier option. Chef Diana Stavaridis noted, "[Beyond Meat is] lower in saturated fat, [and] better for you." She added, "There [are] these huge factors that come into play around the ethos of Beyond Meat and the company itself, which we all take great pride in ... In particular, breaking it down to the health benefits ... the benefits of eating a product that [has] less saturated fat but does have equal or more protein at times, is something very important to think about." 

Beyond Meat just expanded their Beyond Meat Chicken Tenders offerings, and Chef D. has some tips on working with the company's chicken products. "We play around with the chicken a lot, and lately, we've been pretending they're boneless chicken wings," she said. "We cook them up, and then we toss some buffalo sauce, barbecue sauce, agave butter, or honey butter — whatever you can eat. We eat them like wings and dump them in blue cheese sauce and stuff."

To find the nearest location that offers Beyond Chicken Tenders, select the product on the drop-down menu here, and enter your location in the search tool.