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Sainsbury’s Will Launch Meat-Free Butcher for Vegans in London

It’s like a normal butcher, without the skill involved in breaking down an animal

Meat free quorn, at the likes of which available at Sainsburys meat free butcher
Can you butcher mycoprotein?
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How can plant proteins be butchered?

Tesco currently has the U.K. supermarket monopoly on bleeding burgers made from plants, but Sainsbury’s is going the whole fake hog by opening a meat-free butcher. The first catch: it’s only in one store, in Bethnal Green. The second catch: it’s only open for two days, from 21 June to 23 June. The third catch: there will be no butchery, because meat substitutes cannot be butchered.

This is a gimmick. It’s an interesting gimmick. Some of the more shortsighted arguments about vegan burgers, sausages, pulled pork and other substitutes have centred on their distance — or lack of it — from meat, questioning why vegans would want to be reminded of animal products; why vegans would eat something so unhealthy like a burger rather than, say, carrots. It’s a straightforwardly false equivocation of a vegan diet with wellness, and elides the fact that people can still desire the textural, gustatory, and aromatic characteristics of meat in meat replacements without the reason being an insatiable, repressed urge to devour something’s flesh. A vegan ‘butcher’ is a useful manifestation against those arguments, and an illustration of an evolving attitude to veganism, even if fungus-to-fungus doesn’t have quite the same impact as nose-to-tail.

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