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News & Events

9.5.2017

The Rise of Mock Meat: How Its Story Reflects America’s Ever-Changing Values

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Paul Swanson offers insight on the evolution of veggies burgers and their related patent history in NPR’s “The Salt: What’s On Your Plate” blog. The article — “The Rise of Mock Meat: How Its Story Reflects America’s Ever-Changing Values” — retraces the history of mock meat and how vegetarianism and the values behind it have changed overtime.

Paul Swanson, an intellectual property litigator with a special interest in food, dug into patent history to track the evolution of veggie burgers. After the initial spate of Protose-inspired mock-meat development, he says, the scene was fairly quiet (save for the mid-century development of Bac-O Bits, which are arguably more of a salad condiment than full-fledged meat substitute). But then, as the natural foods movement, countercultural resistance and other social movements took hold, eating habits similarly began to change.

“You go into the 70s, and there’s a newfound movement for vegetarianism,” Swanson observes. “You then have the second wave of innovation.”

To learn more about the evolution, view Swanson’s Earth and Table Law Reporter blog post “Patenting the Quest for a More Perfect Veggie Burger.”