Why Instagram Is Fighting Over Trader Joe's Meatless Ground Turkey

Over the last 15 years or so, veganism has increased by about 30% in the United States. According to Food Revolution, there were approximately 290,000 vegan Americans in 2004. In 2019, there were 10 million. As more shift to a vegan and vegetarian diet, the more plant-based products seem to be appearing on shelves. While most people are familiar with meat alternatives like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, there are a lot more products on the market other than ones created by these household names. Individuals can now purchase plant-based bacon, breakfast sausage, burgers, chicken nuggets, and even eggs from various brands.

While plant-based eaters may have an increasing number of faux meat options to choose between, not all of them are healthy, or particularly tasty. According to Goop, if you are on the hunt for yummy plant-based nuggets, you can't go wrong with Simulate's Spicy Nuggs, whereas Hilary's Spicy Veggie Sausage is a great go-to breakfast option.

Trader Joe's also has a wide variety of plant-based products, from its protein patties to its meatless meatballs. The discount grocery store recently debuted a plant-based ground turkey made with pea and wheat protein. The popular Instagram account @traderjoeslist shared the product, which surprisingly resulted in a lot of contention in the comment section.

People think that Trader Joe's new plant-based product looks foul

When @traderjoeslist posted a seemingly harmless Instagram photo of TJ's plant-based turkey, things took an unexpected turn. Users took to the comment section to attack the plant-based product for different reasons. Some viewers criticized the unappetizing appearance of the new product. "It looks like baby poop," one user wrote, while another commented, "Respectfully, this looks absolutely horrendous." 

Others questioned why anyone would even want a plant-based alternate for turkey in the first place. "Imagine making vegan protein simulate the worst tasting animal protein," one user roasted, while another wrote, "No one ever even wants regular turkey. The product that literally no one asked for."

Viewers critiqued various other aspects of the product, including the number of chemicals included in the faux meat, as well as TJ's questionable marketing tactics. "I will never understand this marketing. Why not call it just by what it is and not what it isn't," one user wrote. It seems as though this is another vegan Trader Joe's item the internet won't stop talking about, but not in a good way.

While the comments section was filled with an overwhelming number of negative critiques, some people rushed to the product's defense. "Wondering if anyone saying ick has actually tried it," one user pointed out, while another wrote, "Wow a lot of hate comments — good for you for sharing this!" A handful of users also seemed genuinely excited about sampling this new item.