So, I used to be a vegetarian. I started just to see if I could, and I could, so yay me. However, I really missed fish and chicken wings, so now I am a pesca-fowl-atarian (no, it’s not a word, I just made it up. Work with me, people.)
Anyway, one thing I noticed (and how could I not) was that aside from fruits, vegetables, tofu, and beans, vegetarian food is ridiculously expensive. Granted, there are many Morningstar Farms and other brands of vegetarian “meat” products such as veggie burgers, bean burgers, couscous burgers, quinoa and brown rice burgers, chickenless chicken patties, meatless meatballs (wouldn’t that just be “balls”?), fishless fish sticks, and ground meat “crumbles” to name a few. It’s not bad, in fact, many of these products are quite good. The problem is the price.
Take, for example, ground beef. The really fatty 60%/40% artery-clogging shit that Walmart shoppers tend to purchase in 20-pound logs can be had for, oh, $0.99/pound. The leaner blends like 80%/20% or 90%/10% can go for as much as $2-$3/pound. Even ground turkey is only about $4/pound. Morningstar Farms “meat crumbles” are $5.99 for a 12-ounce bag. If you’re lucky, you might be able to find it for $5.79. Does this sound fair? No, of course not. Essentially, vegetarians/vegans are being punished for eating healthily.
In a similar vein, I am also lactose intolerant. So not only did I have to spend an exorbitant amount on meat substitutes, I also had (and continue to have) to spend a ridiculous amount of money on non-dairy dairy products.
Milk varietals aren’t too terribly expensive. With the numerous brands of almond, cashew, coconut, soy, oat, goat, and yak milk, one can usually get a decent price. So, whereas a gallon of regular milk is about $3, I can typically find my no-sugar-added vanilla almond milk for about $2.79 for a half gallon. Oat milk is more expensive, but it’s so good (provided you don’t mind drinking chunky gray “milk” or watching your Cheerios floating around in what resembles sewage.) You can even make your own oat milk if you so desire. But I digress.
Cheese and ice cream are where the pocketbook begins to hurt. Vegan cheese is easily 3-4 times the price of regular cheese. The same goes for vegetarian/vegan pizza. You can get 12 Tony’s 10-inch meat lovers supreme pizzas for $2 but one 9-inch Daiya vegan veggie pizza is $8.99. What the hell?!
And ice cream?! Decent non-dairy ice cream that doesn’t taste like the layer of irremovable ice in my freezer is about $6 per pint. PINT. “Normal” ice cream is, what, two gallons for $4 when they’re on sale. When my ice cream is on sale, I only have to pay $5 per pint. Yay me.
So how about it, manufacturers? How about making some of this stuff a bit more affordable? In my dreams, right?