As the planet overheats, record numbers of species start to die and we all get fatter, some people have started to wonder whether our approach to food has been 100% right on. Under particular scrutiny is our obsession with eating meat. By now, we all know that the animals are treated terribly and that a carnivorous diet is a recipe for heart disease and cancer, so it’s no surprise that some people are considering whether it might be worth trying to find a more responsible alternative. Most of us agree that this isn’t necessarily a horrible idea. Most of us, however, don’t work for Arby’s.
Apparently determined to stick an aggressive, meaty middle finger in the face of anyone who might threaten their stated aim of selling “all the meats”, the intestine-traumatising sandwich chain has decided that now is the ideal time to troll the newly emerging plant-based industry. Their chosen method of attack? Instead of making burgers out of black beans or chicken out of seitan, Arby’s have decided to construct a carrot out of turkey. Cue the collective gasp of every vegan on planet earth.
Dubbed the “Marrot”, the new invention is actually relatively hi-tech, for a business that’s probably just as well known for causing lengthy toilet trips as it is for serving nourishing meals. To produce the desired carroty effect, slices of turkey breast are wrapped in cheesecloth, cooked sous vide and sprinkled with carrot powder, before being oven roasted. A sprig of parsley is added to complete the look, and voila! The world’s first “Megetable”.
The controversial move was announced in a tongue-in-cheek blog post, where Chief Marketing Officer Jim Taylor provided some background on the ploy. “Plant-based meats are the latest incarnation of making vegetables look like what Americans really want, which is great, tasty meat,” he said, adding, “Universally, people know we’re supposed to eat vegetables every day. But 90 percent of American’s don’t eat the recommended amount. So we said if others can make meat out of vegetables, why can’t we make vegetables out of meat?”
There are currently no immediate plans to make the Marrot available for public consumption. However, it seems as though Arby’s will continue to work behind the scenes to explore other meaty possibilities. According to Taylor, “We want to continue to innovate in the space of meat craft that never existed before in ways that are surprising and delicious and exceed the expectations of what you can get through a drive-thru. Culinary innovation is one of the key tenants of Arby’s. We test more than 1,000 menu items per year, and we remain committed to providing our guests with the highest quality meats in the industry.” Time will tell whether the continued emphasis on meat pays off.