An Awesome Day of Outreach

Recently I had the pleasure of staging New Omnivore's first tabling event at Miami-Dade College in downtown Miami. But this was not be any ordinary tabling - some covert operations were involved. The plan? Place a tray of plant-based meat samples out for passers-by (mostly students) to try, except they wouldn't be told of its true ingredients: they were only asked which flavor of the meat samples did they prefer - the Original or BBQ?

 Plant meat samples

Plant meat samples

In no at time at all (who doesn't love free samples?) I had interested students walk up for a taste. They surveyed the offerings, selected a toothpicked sample, and readily took a bite. They chewed heartily before declaring a verdict: "The BBQ's pretty good" or "I like the Original". Almost all assumed the product was chicken or pork. With their official decision, it was time for the reveal:

"What if I told you that sample was completely made from plants?" 

After a burst of surprise, the students' reactions ranged from pleased laughter to nonchalance to total confusion. Some of the comments: 

"Wow it's pretty good"

"Really? But it tastes like meat!"

"Seriously?" (Silence and staring at the food) "How?"

Since the samples were made from wheat protein, I explained the process of separating wheat starch and protein through a rinsing/kneading process and then cooking the protein to look and taste like meat. 

I then explained what New Omnivore was and why it promotes animal-free food innovation: why making meat from plants can not only be delicious, but more sustainable, healthy and humane.  

 I'll make sure to print this next time 

I'll make sure to print this next time 

9 out 10 samplers seemed to like the information, and a gracious few posed for a photograph declaring they were New Omnivores!


All in all, it was a very successful first effort at outreach, and some important new seeds of knowledge were planted (No pun intended.) On to the next!