Tofurky Hit Grocery Store Shelves 25 Years Ago, It's Had a Lasting Influence

Tofurky Hit Grocery Store Shelves 25 Years Ago, It's Had a Lasting Influence

JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images

Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.

"Tofurky and Thanksgiving are forever intimately tied in my heart," said Jan Dutkiewicz, a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School's animal law and policy program.

He said Tofurky was different from most vegetarian fare because it could actually stand in for a turkey roast.

"It allowed me to be at a Thanksgiving meal having a sort of centerpiece of my own and not just eating stuffing and nibbling on veggies and whatnot," he said.

Today, there are many more meat alternatives on the market. Some brands such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat work hard to appeal not only to vegetarians, but meat lovers too.

"The strategy has been to offer a product that's as close as possible in taste, texture, and price to the products that meat consumers are already eating," Dutkiewicz said.

Producing plant-based proteins generates much less carbon pollution than animal agriculture. So Dutkiewicz said making plant-based foods that appeal – even to meat eaters – can help reduce global warming on Thanksgiving or any day of the year.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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