Choosing a restrictive diet can be an isolating experience. Visiting a restaurant for the first time after I cut out meat was a waking experience. 99% of the menu was now inaccessible and I had to commit to my choices. I recently had the privilege of visiting an airport lounge while waiting for my flight in Vancouver. My normal visit to the lounge ends up a free wine and unlimited pretzel experience. I don't look a gifted horse in the mouth, I was happy with what I got. This time was different. Not only did the buffet include a variety of bean salads, but it served an actual hot meal option, a vegan sausage ravioli. Woah, what? I did a double take when I saw the sticker. The tray wasn't sitting empty, people loaded up on it as much as they did on the butter chicken. Did everybody notice the tag? The taste? Or did they choose consciously and go, "Yeah, this will do". This is the exact way I envision plant based protein can capitalize on the market. Accessibility and abundant availability. Become a one to one substitute for meat and normalize its existence as a food option. We're beyond the proof of concept stage. If plant based protein companies strive for growth and ideological greatness, they need to push Fast Food restaurants to buy their products. They need to stoke interest in bringing their proteins to the masses. Take a pause on patting yourselves on the back and build a robust Go To Market strategy. The VC song and dance can only carry you for so long. As for the Maple Leaf lounge at YVR, I'm impressed. Whoever made the decision to serve a meat alternative, well done. Thank you for recognizing that anything can taste good with enough fat and salt added in. Accessibility is the way forward. Limiting exposure to your product to only Michelin star restaurants keeps concepts unattainable. Keeps that air prestige and pretension. It reinforces the idea that vegans are out of touch with the real world. That's the last thing we need now.
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