Best Tips: “Bloody” vegan burgers may disgust a vegetarian like me, but I’m hardly the target market

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From next month, Britain’s bloodthirsty vegetarians and vegans will be able to better satisfy their thirst for flesh with a more realistic meat-free burger – one that oozes a lookalike “blood” when bitten into. So convincing are these veggie burgers, supposedly, that they’ll be found in the meat aisles.

Sainsbury’s will lead the way in this latest advance from the fake meat industry, stocking the “bleeding” burgers in 400 stores nationwide as part of a new vegan range – becoming the first UK supermarket to do so.

Produced by Danish manufacturer Naturli’ Foods, the patties are made from mushrooms, almonds and tomatoes, a combination that, the Guardian reports, makes for a distinct “meatiness”.

Although the flavour is said to be less comparable to an actual burger than that of the veggie burgers produced by Naturli’s US rivals, the addition of beetroot makes for a realistic colouring and a meat “juice”. Which seems a bizarre USP because, having been vegetarian for the majority of my life, meat juice is absolutely the last thing I’m looking for of a meal.

I was raised on an entirely meat-free diet right up until the point that I discovered, on a school trip to Prague aged 15, that pepperoni is in fact unfairly delicious. To my parents’ dismay, I returned home determined to uncover which other culinary delights had been missing from my childhood (I found the answer in KFC).

Fast forward five years and I realised that I was only eating the heavily processed meats because with anything that might have been slightly healthier, it was too hard to separate the food from the animal. Three years into a vegetarian renaissance, cravings are rare and limited to junk food. Quarter pounders when drunk in McDonald’s at the end of a night out, chicken nuggets when my boyfriend eats them hungover in bed on a Saturday morning, Haribo when they’re on offer by the till in Tesco. I may not have given in, but I can’t deny being tempted.

Far from tempting, though, is a bloodied burger, not even if to get my hands on a fake one were as easy as going to Sainsbury’s. And I say that as somebody who last weekend made a 40-minute journey from my home in south London to Camden, just to try vegan fried chicken.

When I ate meat, the sight of blood on a restaurant plate would have disgusted me enough to guiltily send my meal back to the kitchen. Very well done was the order of every similarly charred dish. So, why, I thought immediately upon hearing of this non-meat, meat juice-filled burger; why have they made this? Who, I wondered, was asking for it? What is the point of it? Why would a vegetarian, somebody who doesn’t want to eat an animal, want to feel as though they were eating an animal?

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