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Just Whatever

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I do not know what cows have done to Josh Tetrick, CEO of Hampton Creek, but it must be something egregious for him to exact revenge by using them in his company’s products. Yes, the darling of all vegans, the plant-based company originally established to replace eggs in mayo, has now deemed dairy to be acceptable – whether in terms of fairness or sustainability – all to satisfy our palate pleasure. Their “Just Cookies White Chocolate Macadamia Nut” contain “whole milk powder, nonfat dry milk [and] milk fat”.

Back in distant 2015, when Hampton Creek managed to rake up a $90 million investment, primarily from Silicon Valley including Bill Gates, Tetrick was in the media touting his company’s sustainability cred. Tetrick said “[I’m] more concerned about changing the world than making money. ‘We’re beginning to have an impact with water not being used, with land not being used, with carbon emissions not being pushed into the atmosphere, with to some extent chicken eggs not being used as much,’ he says. “That’s what we will continue powering away for.’” I guess the memo on the environmental impact of dairy got misplaced and the cow milk “not being used as much” was immaterial.

But just whatever! Hampton Creek is doing their bit for the animals, right? In 2015, the veganverse was all like “yeah the world is going vegan!” But yeah… not so much. All that happened – then and now – is that a company made a product. Then, it capitalised on the expanding demand of plant-based products. Now, when its investors want larger returns, it turns to exploiting the most vulnerable.

I am deeply sceptical that a company that managed to create chicken egg substitutes could not come up with a viable replacement for dairy in this new cookie. The dairy ingredients must be so cheap that the business case, in terms of profit margin of using dairy versus non-dairy and/or market expansion opportunity, must have been open and shut. So, ditch the ethics and the science and just follow the money.

Despite what it seems, this is not an indictment of Hampton Creek. Ultimately, I do not care what they do. They are a company created to make products to fulfil consumer demand, whether vegan or nonvegan. What I care about is what we do, individually.

We need to continue to educate – clearly and simply – so that we change how our friends, colleagues and family perceive animals. Animals are not things and most people already believe that. If they are not things, then we cannot use them as things – as ingredients in white chocolate macadamia cookies. This is basic fairness, justice and it is the least we can do for the animals. It is also the only thing that will permanently alter consumer demand.

Change the paradigm. Go vegan and educate others to do the same.

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  • Meghan Muir

    I was interviewed for a job with them a few years back. They were very adament about not using the word “vegan” in relation to any of their products. That was a big red flag for me and I did not accept the job offer.

    • Fallopia Tuba

      Follow Your Heart doesn’t want to be associated with vegans or veganism either; I’d like to see a piece here on why that is.

      • Jill

        I can’t speak for Ecorazzi, but as I said above, I don’t think it’s the worst idea to downplay the “vegan-ness” of a product. Because, for most people, finding out something is vegan means they are looking at it through a lens. My husband and I are vegan, and sadly, we can only get most of omnivorous friends to admit they like vegan products if they don’t know they’re vegan. We had a 100% vegan wedding, and put out decoy signs in front of the “ground beef” and “queso.” We STILL get compliments on how great the food was. I would LOVE for people to knowingly and willingly eat vegan food/substitutes and be amazed by them, but I don’t think we’re at that point yet.

        • Fallopia Tuba

          I’ll tell you what happens when I go out with a group of omnivores, though: I have to order at least double, because everyone wants to try my food, and I can’t have any of theirs!

          I totally agree with you on this; tell a group of 10-year-olds that Smarties™ are vegan—they are—and watch the cognitive dissonance! Although a lot of processed foods contain whey for no other reason than to use up a milk by-product in a way that doesn’t require its direct disposal, there are a lot that are unintentionally vegan, which is great.

          I never get trick-or-treaters at my house on Halloween, but if I did, I’d give out Smarties™ and Twizzlers™—both of which are vegan!

    • Jill

      I’m vegan, and I totally get how that would make you hesitant. However, unfortunately, 99% of people are not vegan. I personally think it’s smart that they dissociate themselves with the term-as most people are still so close minded that reading that something is “vegan” either means they automatically won’t touch it with a ten foot pole, or, if they are willing to try it and they like it, it becomes “pretty good for being vegan.” I don’t think they want Just Mayo to be the most popular vegan mayonnaise available, I think they want it to be the most popular mayonnaise, period. And if it becomes that, then production of mayonnaises that utilize animal products will grind to a halt. And everyone wins! I hope we as a society get to the point where the term “vegan” isn’t even warranted anymore, because everything will be vegan!

  • Cenk Tekin

    “I am deeply sceptical that a company that managed to create chicken egg substitutes could not come up with a viable replacement for dairy in this new cookie.”
    What do you actually know about science behind the issue, or science at all? And that is before we ask whether the egg substitutes are jus another snkae oil or not.

  • Dae

    But of course they are putting back in the real thing, as no substitutes can emulate it good enough. No nut milks will ever be like real milk or some coconutoil mixture with whatever crap be like real cheese.

  • Yet an unborn human is a mere inconvenience so it is ok to eliminate them with no conscience. Since they are not yet human perhaps you can integrate them into your diet and recipes for your cookies. Simple logic.

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