Updated July 26, 2019 | Two meat-lovers have formed a vegan startup to make plant-based meat that is so realistic, it could win over the most committed carnivore.
THIS’s range of vegan meat includes bacon rashers and chicken pieces in all the flavors you can dream of (think: BBQ, tikka, rotisserie-style, dark soy and garlic, and sea salt and cracked black pepper).
Co-founders Andy Shovel and Peter Sharman previously established and operated a beef burger restaurant chain. “As far as U-turns go, this is a whopper,” THIS writes on its website.
The brand has even got food critics and influencers fooled. It recently hosted a dinner with 25 critics and social media influencers. Attendees were not informed that the meat was vegan until after they had finished the meal.
Sharman states in a YouTube video of the event, “we’ve been working for nearly two years to make our products as close to meat as possible, and this is the blindest of tests.” The pair posed as waiters and drafted in a Michelin Star chef to fool their guests. The test paid off, as none of those who ate the food realized it was vegan.
One food critic said, “I thought it was chicken. It was a complete surprise.” Another added, “I’ve had vegan substitutes before and hated them, but I really enjoyed that and would never have known that it wasn’t actual chicken.”
THIS’ Vegan Journey
The brand came about after the pair realized they needed to reduce their consumption of meat — “fairly urgently” — but struggled to find vegan meat products they enjoyed. Inspired to create their own, they used their “obsession and adoration for meat” as a “guiding star” to create plant-based meat that looks, cooks, and tastes like its animal-based counterpart.
The realistic recipes took a year and a half to develop, and the co-founders tasted more than 2,000 versions of the final eight launch products. The end result is a “bunch of food that allows you to virtually eat meat, without killing stuff.”
What is Vegan Bacon Made From?
Made out of GMO-free soy and pea protein, THIS’s bacon and chicken is fortified with vitamin B12 and iron.
“It’s ridiculously high in protein, it tastes sensational and it’s produced by people who won’t guilt-trip you if you also eat meat,” the duo wrote.
“THIS is for everyone. We don’t discriminate. But if you’re a carnivore looking to cut down, vegetarian or vegan who longs for the taste and texture of meat without the environmental impact, or even just looking for a food that’s healthy with a protein and iron kick, THIS is for you,” the company explained.
THIS’s chicken salt and pepper pieces, chicken tikka pieces, and bacon rashers are available at 645 Holland & Barrett stores across the UK.