I had been salivating at the memories of the food at Tramlines 2018 for about a year by the time I finally descended on Traders’ Circle at this year’s festival. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the choice was a little overwhelming, there were a crop of familiar faces from last year, and loads of new places I wanted to try. What caught my eye immediately was Meatless Farm. I was aware of Meatless Farm as a company who sold plant-based mince and burgers in the supermarket, but had no idea they had a food truck.
Meatless Farm is a manufacturer of plant-based meat substitutes whose products are available in the UK, across Europe, in Canada, China, and UAE. Its mission is to convince people to decrease their meat consumption in order to help the environment, saying that “if everyone in the UK switched just one more red meat meal to a plant-based meal per week, it would cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 million tonnes – the equivalent of taking 16 million cars off the road.”
The company’s #MeatFreeNotTasteFree campaign was in full force at Tramlines, serving a range of burgers, pitas, and loaded fries, all made with the products you can buy and use at home! As it happens, I had made a burger using on of its patties that week, and wanted to see how it’s really done, so I ordered a cheeseburger.
The main difference between Meatless Farm products and that of, say, Quorn, is just how much the Meatless Farm stuff is like the real thing. Its mince, for example, behaves remarkably like beef mince, even requiring you to brown it before adding the wet ingredients for your sauce, the opposite of Quorn mince. Similarly, its burgers in their uncooked state have that beef-like pink colour, browning up more when cooked.
Making its products act and look as much like meat was a conscious decision for Meatless Farm, saying on its website that the products were made with meat-eaters and flexitarians in mind, just as much as those who have already shunned meat. One of my pet peeves is when someone asks me ‘if you’re vegetarian, why would you want to eat something that looks like meat?’ It feels as though Meatless Farm has incorporated my irritated answer to this question into its ethos when making its products. Meatless Farm products are perfect for the vegetarian who quits meat for environmental reasons more than ethical. Burgers are nice, and you should be able to eat them whether you eat meat or not, Meatless Farm patties give an alternative that feels authentic. And they’re really bloody nice.
The cheeseburgers served at Tramlines were delicious, and everything that a proper-burger-missing vegetarian could have hoped for. The delicious meaty patty was topped with lettuce, tomato, and sweet pickled red onion and served in a brioche bun. Meatless Farm is creating meat-free products that allow us herbivores to cook with a bit more freedom than many of its competitors allow, which the products on offer at Tramlines really helped to prove.
Meatless Farm has set a high standard for meat-free burger patties, and honestly food truck burgers for vegetarians. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the Burger Barn in future.