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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Are Companies Still Adding Eggs to Veggie Burgers?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 2:24 PM

click to enlarge Put down that Quorn burger, vegans, and just walk away: It contains egg whites. - BEN SUTHERLAND/FLICKR
  • Ben Sutherland/Flickr
  • Put down that Quorn burger, vegans, and just walk away: It contains egg whites.

When you're throwing a party and thinking of your vegan guests, what food do you automatically think of? Veggie burgers and hot dogs, right? When your vegan BFF shows her adorably picky face at your BBQ, you'll most likely have a veggie burger on hand to grill/make jokes about. Well, I hope you read that packaging, because lots of veggie burgers and hot dogs aren't vegan. It's true! When I first went vegan, I can't tell you how many times I almost purchased Lightlife veggie dogs or Quorn Chik'n Patties without looking at the label because ― duh ― there's no meat! What else would be in there? Oh that's right, egg whites. Naturally.

Weirdly, many companies add egg whites as fillers in their veggie burgers and hot dogs. But by using eggs, veg companies are restricting the number of consumers willing to buy their products. Whether for ethics, allergy, health, or religious reasons, there's a growing segment of the population that won't purchase products that contain eggs. Including eggs in your veg products seems extra goofy when companies like Field Roast and Tofurky make ridiculously tasty veggie sausages without the use of animal products, and Pure Vegetarian and Gardein make delicious chicken patty substitutes without including any part of the chicken. This is eggsellent* news.

Not to get on my high horse, but since that is my way, here goes.

click to enlarge Boca is among the companies who've banished eggs from veggie burgers.
  • Boca is among the companies who've banished eggs from veggie burgers.

Many people don't eat eggs for the same reason they don't eat chickens: They don't want to fund an industry that profits from suffering. Most hens in the egg industry are confined in barren cages so small they can't even spread their wings! Layer hens perhaps have it worst of all among the factory-farmed animals, though they all end up slaughtered anyway. By contributing to the egg industry, you are contributing to the meat industry, and that shit is whack.

So what gives, Quorn and Lightlife ? Why are you throwing all this unnecessary garbage into your veggie burgers and dogs when companies like Field Roast, Turtle Island, and Gardein are creating superior food without crappy animal product fillers? Is it because Lightlife is now owned by ConAgra and they don't really give two craps about their customer base? Is it because it's cheaper to use factory-farm byproducts than more wholesome ingredients? I've contacted both companies but haven't heard back yet. Come on, Quorn and Lightlife, I won't bite. I can't because you're not vegan! Ba dum bum!

Morningstar and Boca are finally getting with the times and making progress by removing eggs, while others like Quorn and Lightlife are dragging their feet. If they keep this up, they'll be totally left in the dust by the millions of vegans (and a growing number of vegetarians) who are switching to a vegan diet. And, believe me, you don't want to miss out on my dollar, as I can eat A LOT of veggie burgers. No, seriously, I've won contests.

*I eggsell at terrible puns. Also, I apologize.

Laura Beck is a founding editor of Vegansaurus and tweets at @mrpenguino. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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Laura Beck

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