Meat Industry Uses Super Bowl Ad to Scare You Away From Meat Alternatives

|Updated Feb 3, 2020

During the Super Bowl, you watched J Lo and Shakira shake their booties, the Chiefs make a comeback in the last 8 minutes to rush to a historic win and an ad that fed you a bunch of scare tactics about what is really in all that alternative meat we've been eating and loving. The Center for Consumer Freedom calls itself a consumer advocacy group but in fact, it's a group that has ties to the meat industry.

The CCF's 30-second ad this past Sunday during Super Bowl LIV was set up like a spelling bee where a contestant is asked to spell the chemical compounds found in some alternative meat choices. It was meant to create fear in the hearts of those choosing to skip the beef and eat the bean burgers instead. But it was misleading—the latest in a disingenuous disinformation campaign from the meat industry to discredit the plant-based versions and cast doubt about the health benefits of ditching the meat.

Impossible Foods create a response to the ad here. Spelling bee to spelling bee, the kids are all pretty cute. Since a Super Bowl ad costs over $5 million, Impossible pointed out in its response that the CCF was willing to spend untold amounts to attack plant-based meat, which lends fuel to the flame-broiled fire that the meat industry is freaking out; they see the enthusiasm for plant-based meat as an existential threat to their future, much the way dairy companies have gone Chapter 11 in the wake of consumer's growing love affair with oat, almond, and other non-dairy milk and creamers.

Meat Lobby Vs. Meat Alternatives

Wikipedia describes CCF as a group "that lobbies on behalf of the fast food, meat, alcohol, and tobacco industries. Experts on non-profit law have questioned the validity of the group's non-profit status."

The commercial uses a grade-school spelling bee that asks a contestant how to spell "methylcellulose." When the contestant asks for a definition, the moderator explains methylcellulose is "a chemical laxative that's also used in synthetic meats."

"CCF believes as more consumers learn what's in meat analogs, interest will wane," the group said in a recent press release. The Food Processing story covers the infighting.

To see a longer, 60-second version of the ad below:

We give the CCF points for creativity, but an F for the public interest. Doctors from Harvard to the Cleveland Clinic, plus registered dieticians and scientists have come to the consensus that a real beef burger is worse for the environment and human health than most plant-based, non-meat alternatives—although sodium levels can be quite high in some of the alternative meats on the market. For the best bean-based and non-meat burgers check out The Beet's product review here.