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Impossible food sues to cancel earlier trademark owners (impossiblehq.com)
260 points by justinmares 60 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 192 comments



Reading this: http://casefilingsalert.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Impos...

it seems like Impossible X complained first and Impossible food is saying that they want it declared that they are not infringing on Impossible X's trademarks.

IOW: little guy complained first and big guy is asking for relief that they are not doing anything wrong.

Is there more to the story?


Thanks for sharing this. It looks like Impossible X (the defendant) was the first to sue to have Impossible Foods cease using their logo and trademark. And now Impossible Foods isn't budging and asserting their weight through counter-suit. It still feels very unfair even though the small guy started it; he's trying to protect his brand. He has supplied actual cases of confusion between the two companies according to this filing.

He should have definitely included that information in this blog post though. It's more than a little misleading.


And isn't the company that holds the trademark legally obligated to defend it? My understanding is that if you aren't actively making sure that your trademark is not infringed upon, it bolsters the case that the trademark has been abandoned.

So it's not like the trademark holder is looking for a fight. The law essentially forces their hand.


Companies can have the same name if they're in different industries. Seems like Impossible X/HQ or whatever was contending overlap on the nutrition/food side.

I'm not a lawyer and I'm not reading this closely as I'd need to in order to be more authoritative, but it seems like most of their trademarks are for non-food-related sectors. "Pharmaceutical Products" is the only one that looks close to "food" in the trademarks I'm seeing on their page. Not sure how you get from that to "recipes, food ingredients, and cooking information", but would love to hear from someone who would know!


And yet that is not the story we were told in the SP. We were told a lie.


Were there actually any cases of confusion? Impossible Food's filing states: Impossible X also referenced, without providing details, “several apparent instances of actual confusion.”

Unless there are more I'm missed, Impossible X's closest trademark covers nutritional supplements. They are arguing that allowing Impossible Foods to have a trademark on the following would cause confusion: "Providing information about recipes, ingredients and cooking information; providing an online computer database to consumers eaturing information about recipes, ingredients and cooking information". I don't really see any overlap.


at the hazard of siding with bullying megacorps...

isn't the public interest primarily in having a consistent definition of "impossible?" One which has been clearly meme'd into our culture already?


Its lying, is what it is.


Respectfully. You may want to rewrite this.


Why do you say that? In my comment I'm rooting for you. I did say that you should have mentioned this is a counter-suit to your own suit, and I stand by that. Why omit that information? Or is that a misunderstanding?


> On November 10, 2020, over five years after Impossible Foods commenced use of its IMPOSSIBLE mark, Impossible X, through its counsel, sent a demand letter to Impossible Foods.

Could you share the letter you sent to them? It might help us understand all of this better.


You left out a pretty big part:

> ...That this Court declare that Impossible X’s trademark registrations in Registration Nos. 5376208, 5387588, and 5620625 be cancelled...


I'm going to chime in as yet another voice saying it feels somewhat cheap for you to have left out the part where Impossible X sued Impossible Foods first. Given the similarity between the logos and the fact you have to police a trademark to protect it, Impossible X's suit appears completely justified. But as it stands your current story comes across a bit dishonest, as if you're trying to claim this attempt to cancel your trademark just came out of nowhere. There is a larger situation here, and you do a disservice to both your audience and yourself by brushing past it.


got it, so they are saying yours should be cancelled because you didn't use it for anything?


When you look at the ImpossibleHQ vs Impossible Foods logo, it's obviously, without a doubt, a complete rip off.

It's the sort of lawsuit that I would expect ImpossibleHQ to put against Impossible Foods, obviously not vice versa.

It seems so clearly a rip off of the logo, that it's the kind of lawsuit that I want to invest in. Like -- I want to help fund a lawsuit against Impossible foods for millions that they ripped off the logo/trademark illegally.

Is there any past examples of investment/crowdfunding for a lawsuit, where the investors earn returns if a lawsuit succeeds?

This feels like an interesting opportunity for grassroots crowdfunding/investment for a David vs Goliath situation.


I disagree. It looks like both companies went to https://en.bestfonts.pro/font/tungsten and just wrote IMPOSSIBLE and chose semi bold. Anyway, the fonts are clearly different, the M being the giveaway and HQ has (for probably trademark reasons) whiteout the middle which synergizes with their product of crossing out the impossible which Foods has not done because they want to emphasize their food is impossible.


Not sure if I am seeing the same logos, but is the ripoff just that they are both the word "impossible" using a bold, non-serif font?

While I agree it is far too similar, it is also not at all unlikely that Impossible Foods designed their logo in a vacuum. Bold, non-serif logo fonts are certainly extremely popular as of the last 10+ years.


> When you look at the ImpossibleHQ vs Impossible Foods logo, it's obviously, without a doubt, a complete rip off.

I have doubts.

Their logos aren't very similar, given the design space of today's black on white/white on black uppercase sans-serif[1] logos.

In fact only the strike through IMPOSSIBLE logo (https://trademarks.justia.com/871/16/impossible-87116503.htm...) appears to have any features that could be called creative or distinctive. That is owned by Impossible LLC, as opposed to Impossible Foods Inc.

If Impossible Foods used such a logo anywhere, I couldn't find it.

[1]: The Impossible Foods' logos in question actually have some subtle serifs, while Impossible's font is sans-serif.


> Is there any past examples of investment/crowdfunding for a lawsuit, where the investors earn returns if a lawsuit succeeds?

Sounds like you're describing litigation funding (a fairly established market). You'd probably want to back it by insurance to cover the investors and party bringing the action against adverse costs exposure.

Litigation funding is often provided by insurers anyway as a result, as they can put up the cash, and cover the risk of costs via their insurance.


I wonder if there's a litigation betting market. I know there's prediction markets, but I'm wondering about a community dedicated to market making on any/all lawsuits.


I can see that becoming a serious moral hazard. If a judge or juror can make money on a lawsuit that they're deciding reaching a particular verdict, then there's a very real danger that they will do so. I'm pretty sure that in the grand scheme of things we want less opportunity for this sort of corruption of the judicial process, not more.


> If a judge or juror can make money on a lawsuit that they're deciding reaching a particular verdict, then there's a very real danger that they will do so.

If a witness or person in custody of physical evidence can do so, you have a similar problem.


I'm honestly surprised I've never heard of litigation gambling. Considering your comment, it definitely seems like a horrible idea, so I'm not a proponent. My surprise is due to the fact that the degeneracy of the internet knows no bounds.


There are some bounds on gambling, like the fact that there are some people who know the outcome of the Oscars before they're revealed is why there's no betting on those awards (and other similar awards). I think the ability of individuals to decisively affect the outcome of litigation is similarly adverse to there being gambling.¹

⸻⸻⸻

1. This is one reason why match-fixing in boxing is such a big thing (and it's apparently a lot more common than most people think, especially at the lower levels).


Replace boxing with literally almost all pro sports.


When you look at the IMPOSSIBLE HQ logo next to MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE logo it is an obvious rip-off.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission:_Impossible#/media/Fil...


OK, I see what's going on here.

Impossible Foods primary arguments are:

- They use the mark IMPOSSIBLE with services relating to recipes, food ingredients, and cooking information, and Impossible X does not.

- Impossible X has challenged their right to use the trademark in that manner, and so they want the courts to decide with finality who has what rights.

- Since Impossible X has not asserted their rights to the mark in this manner in many years, and have not pursued any business in that area, Impossible Foods wants any trade marks in relation to food to be considered abandoned (incidentally, this is why big companies pursue trademark claims so aggressively).

- They also want to be awarded costs (not a likely outcome, but always good to throw in).

My dry reading of this gives the impression that they're likely to prevail. If you don't protect your trademark, especially against such a high profile company and let it run for years unchallenged, you risk losing it. This is to prevent people from submarining a lawsuit by allowing a company to build massive value in a mark you own rights to, only to snatch it away from them and hold it for ransom.


"Earlier trademark owner" and longtime HN member here. Happy to answer whatever questions I can.


Any plans to accept donations?

You should spread this over more outlets, I think it's already being flagged here...


How do you think dealing with this will compare to running 100k in Antarctica?


In your opinion, is this coming from an overly aggressive IP-focused legal team more used to the way biotechs operate? Do you think the board is aware?

Speaking of investors: Have you thought about making some of the celebrity voices who own a piece of the pie aware of what Impossible Foods is doing?

In addition to blue-chip institutional investors, Impossible Foods’ existing individual investors include Jay Brown, Common, Kirk Cousins, Paul George, Peter Jackson, Jay-Z, Mindy Kaling, Trevor Noah, Alexis Ohanian, Kal Penn, Katy Perry, Questlove, Ruby Rose, Phil Rosenthal, Jaden Smith, Serena Williams, will.i.am and Zedd.

https://impossiblefoods.com/media/news-releases/2020-08/impo...


Case number for locating it in PACER: 5:2021cv02419

At a glance of the complaint it seems that Impossible X started this with complaints and legal action against mpossible Foods for infringing on their trademarks. The complaint additionally shows that Impossible X was granted their registration of IMPOSSIBLE on Jan 9th, 2018.


Here's a list of Impossible trademarks: https://impossiblex.com/trademarks/

Note the logo: Class 041 | 025 | 12/18/2012 https://trademark.trademarkia.com/impossible-85578345.html

The registration date was in 2012, and, apart from the blank line in the middle, is identical to impossible food's logo. Both use League Gothic Font.


That's for a trademark in the context of "exercise and fitness" though. You can have one Impossible doing that and another Impossible selling food and there's no consumer confusion so they're both fine. It's just when the fitness company started applying their existing branding to nutrition products in apparently 2018 that suddenly there was a conflict.


Impossible Foods absolutely does not use League Gothic. It's using Tungsten Semibold, a font by Hoefler&Co.


Good info thanks. My comment wasn't intended to be a statement of fact by me, but rather what Impossible Foods claims. The complaint is now available on courtlistener.


Am I reading this wrong or do they just think they can steal the trademark because they're bigger? Now that I think about it, looks like they ripped off his logo too...


I don't think that's what's happening at all. Seems like Impossible existed prior, and had trademarks. Impossible Foods started later, and used the name (and logo for that matter) for years without being questioned.

Now recently, Impossible brought trademark threats against Impossible Foods. What is being referenced here is like a countersuit from Impossible Foods, and their demand is specifically that they be granted the Impossible trademark in the context of "recipes, food ingredients, and cooking information."

The main source of conflict would be around Impossible's "Impossible Nutrition," which is trademarked. However, Impossible Foods predates that product and trademark.

So it seems like originally there was no conflict as they were in different areas- that's totally normal. However after Impossible Foods had been created, Impossible launched a line of nutrition products that create a possible conflict. Impossible then made some trademark threats against Impossible Foods, and Impossible Foods has responded with a suit asking for relief and that they be granted the Trademark in the context of food.

I'm open to the possibility that I'm reading this wrong, but I think Impossible Foods is 100% in the right here.

The logo thing is definitely dicier, but they do seem different enough that you probably wouldn't get in trouble for that.


Yeah the Impossible Foods logo looks like the same font without the strike out in the middle. And according to the filings the logo been registered to ImpossibleHQ since 2012 and that's also documented on the web archive with that same logo being used in 2011 https://web.archive.org/web/20111031071828/http://impossible...


Would be epic if he was able to turn this around and get millions out of them.


Yikes. I'm glad you're going public with this. Companies shouldn't be able to get away with legal bullying like this.


Thanks for the support.


Link to Impossible's trademark (for nutrition - they have 18)

https://trademark.trademarkia.com/impossible-nutrition-87116...

This was from 2018 (important I think).

Another was this: https://trademark.trademarkia.com/impossible-85578345.html

But the class is not a super overlap with impossible foods.

Here is impossible foods mark.

https://trademarks.justia.com/861/02/impossible-86102158.htm...

2013 was the filing date here.

With an english language word, the trademark protection is (generally) going to be a bit narrower (ie, specific class etc).

For what it is worth, at a 10 second glance this is not the slam dunk little vs big player thing.


He has to fight back. This happens more than people realize. He has a well established trademark that protects an operational business. He should be able to win this. I am not an attorney or a naming / trademark expert but can recommend some good ones.


As a vegan myself this is very unfortunate because we are already easy targets and subject to a lot of prejudice. Impossible Meat bullying a small company might unleash a backlash of anti-vegan sentiment that can take on a life of its own. Make no mistake it has been there all along. Go back to other discussions about veganism here on HN and you will see the common anti-vegan memes. But when you're one of the leading brands of a minority movement like veganism you really need to make sure your PR is impeccable because your actions have broad-reaching effects beyond your business.

And to be 100% clear I am not being an apologist for Impossible. If they are indeed bullying and the case is as clear cut as this article describes then that is ugly behavior.


> Go back to other discussions about veganism here on HN and you will see the common anti-vegan memes.

You will also see a lot of outlandish claims about veganism, human diet and health and, food in general which is generally where the backlash starts.

I've seen claims like "humans have evolved to be vegan", "beef only has vitamin b12 because of b12 supplements", "if you eat properly, your body will generate it's own vitamin b12".

You'll also see dismissive, no true Scotsman, responses to issues with vegan diets like struggles to get enough b12, calcium and iodine.

I try to eat vegan, or at least vegetarian, a few days a week, mostly by eating traditionally vegetarian meals. Impossible meat is highly processed and is neither healthy nor a climate change solution.


Judging any group by its worst members isn't the most charitable regardless of the group. You end up not really making an argument outside of "I found a ridiculous person in this group" which like, yeah, true. But when you imply that they're somehow representative or to be taken seriously you end up just exposing your prejudices and/or ignorance. Dogpiling a person who thinks you can photosynthesize b12 is fine -- they're nuts. But if that person sours your opinion of V's then you clearly already had issues with them.

Veganism and vegetarianism aren't synonymous with healthy, they don't even try to be. It's actually a point of annoyance among V's that "vegetarian" options at restaurants try to be "light" and healthy when you really just want a basket of fries dipped in vegan mayo. Same with the aversion to processed foods, it's nothing to do with V's at all -- that's the "whole foods" movement thing. Some V's care about the environment, some V's care about whole foods, some V's care about animal suffering. The former two probably wouldn't eat an Impossible Burger, the latter might.


I'm not sure you are replying to. I have vegan and vegetarian friends and family; I certainly don't judge vegans according to its worst members.

I find the "worst" of vegans annoying and pedalling dangerous myths. Eating vegan while staying healthy is hard work and real health problems can occur if you don't put in that work.


I agree that some vegans also make outlandish claims but I think it's taking it too far to say that this is "generally where the backlash starts", because that implies that it's our fault / we caused it. There are a lot of vested interests that have purely selfish motives for attacking veganism and would do it regardless of any outlandish claims on the part of vegans.


> I agree that some vegans also make outlandish claims but I think it's taking it too far to say that this is "generally where the backlash starts", because that implies that it's our fault / we caused it.

Sorry, if someone makes dangerous claims like "you'll generate your own b12 after switching to a whole food diet", it is their fault if they get dog piled and memed.

There is anti-vegan prejudice on HN, I've seen it, but the real backlash is usually when the defence of the vegan philosophy gets outlandish.


> I agree that some vegans also make outlandish claims but I think it's taking it too far to say that this is "generally where the backlash starts", because that implies that it's our fault / we caused it.

There's the old vegan joke for a reason:

   How do you know someone is a vegan? They'll tell you all about it...
I think vegans get a bad rep because too often they feel the need to convert others to veganism too. Vegans aren't alone here, super devote religious people do this too, the guy in your office that just got into standing desks does it too, etc...

When people make a choice they believe is the one true way to do something, it's difficult to see others not join in - after all, you feel you've made the choice because it's healthy/will save your life/save the planet/whatever, how could you just watch others harm themselves?

Just live and let live... other people don't and shouldn't care if you choose to be a vegan or not.

Not targeting you in particular... just general observations. The "as a vegan..." line is about as tired as the "as a libertarian I believe X..." line. Nobody cares what you are or believe.


If you're hanging out with someone, it's almost impossible for it not to come up that you're vegan, since a large amount of places to eat have no vegan-friendly foods. You either have to bring up that you can't eat somewhere (since it has nothing you can eat) or not eat at all (prompting questions about that).


Good point. I guess the only time someone should care about your dietary preference is if you're having a dinner party or going out to eat.

That's appropriate use of the "I'm a vegan" line...

Just don't go over the top and tell people they're bad for eating a hamburger or inject your veganism into otherwise irrelevant conversation.


> Just live and let live.

...except for animals, right?

This is a prime example of the dissonance that comes from having carnism as a dominant ideology for dietary preference.


Eating what biology intended you to eat is not an ideology.

Making a conscious decision to go against biology and select a different dietary preference is indeed an ideology (unless there is a real medical reason you cannot eat something, such as allergies).


There is nothing about eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that goes against our biology. The American Dietetics Association recognizes a vegetarian diet as appropriate for all stages of life [0]. Meat is not a requirement to live a healthy life, and can - in some cases and excess - detriment overall health. Additionally, current animal agricultural practices are harmful to the environment.

0. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27886704/


That's quite a straw man you've weaved there.

First, nobody said anything about eating only meat as a diet. I'd wager zero people do that - you would quickly develop vitamin deficiencies and ultimately fall ill and die.

Secondly, you've moved the goal posts to vegetarianism, which is not veganism.

Third, just because a vegetarian diet can be sustainable (in the sense you won't fall ill) doesn't mean it's the natural diet for a human. It's not... Your teeth and many other parts of your human body tell us differently.

Fourth, there are several cultures on this planet that strongly favor vegetarianism, but none are strictly vegan and few are strictly vegetarian. As already pointed out, vegans often have to take supplements to remain healthy. That's biology telling you that diet isn't natural.

Lastly, deciding to be a vegan because you believe current agriculture practices are harmful to the environment is a choice based off your beliefs and therefore is an ideology. That was the original assertion.


You seem to be conflating carnism for the carnivore diet. Info on what carnism is can be found here [0]. There's a lot of good stuff in that article, I think! Unfortunately, there are people who are indulging in a pure carnivore diet. You're right that it's patently unhealthy, and frankly it's a little weird.

Veganism is a subset of vegetarianism. I'm trying to be flexible with my position to allow for good discussion - being either vegetarian or vegan is typically healthier and objectively better for the environment [4].

Recognizing that humans are omnivores also means that by definition we can sustain ourselves solely by plant or animal matter [1]. Your statement of "Making a conscious decision to go against biology [...]" is plainly inaccurate, as we are quite capable of living healthy lives without meat.

There is plenty of evidence to support the fact that animal agriculture is harmful to the environment [2][3]. In fact, it is the second largest contributor of green house gasses.

I get the sense that there is some frustration coming through in your thoughts. Please keep in mind this is exactly how cognitive dissonance expresses itself. Take a breath, check out some of the citations below, and try to think about this data with an objective approach.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnism

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnivore

2. https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp.11034

3. https://climatenexus.org/climate-issues/food/animal-agricult...

4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19562864/


> There is nothing about eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that goes against our biology.

I am genuinely curious to know why you say that. The other poster didn't say anything about not eathing fruit and vegetables etc. They said:

=> Making a conscious decision to go against biology and select a different dietary preference is indeed an ideology (unless there is a real medical reason you cannot eat something, such as allergies).

I can't see where in that comment the OP said or implied that it "goes against our biology" to eat fruit and veg etc. It's clear to me that what they said goes "against biology" is not eating any meat. That is what characterises the vegan diet: the absence of meat and animal products, not the presence of fruit and vegetables.

So why did you say that eating fruit etc doesn't go against biology? Who said it does?

Did the OP change their comment between the time you replied to it and the time I read your comments?


Again, as omnivores, there is nothing about a plant-based diet that goes against our biology [0].

Let me know if you have any other questions!

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omnivore

Edit - actually, sorry, but please don't. I remember interacting with you on previous topics about vegetarianism, and your comment history and name are indicative of some biases and dissonance that you're unwilling to overcome. Even some of your submissions are heavily biased, dated, and subsequently refuted [1][2]. The evidence supporting my position is plain and well-documented in my other comments. Cheers.

1. https://theconversation.com/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-the...

2. https://theconversation.com/vegetarians-cause-environmental-...


You seem to not understand Omnivores survive on both meat and vegetation - not exclusively one or the other. We have names for the ones that survive solely on one or the other...


I'm aware of the differences between herbivorous, carnivorous, and omnivorous. However, you seem to be unwilling to accept that you don't need animal flesh to live a healthy life. Nothing of what you've provided has refuted that.

Please continue to review the citations I provided, particularly the one from NIH. For an ethical approach, I recommend Peter Singer's "Why vegan?" and "Animal Liberation" should be sufficient. Nothing you've provided has refuted the ethical side of things, either.


> Even some of your submissions are heavily biased, dated, and subsequently refuted [1][2]. The evidence supporting my position is plain and well-documented in my other comments. Cheers.

You don't realise to what extent you come across as snotty, clueless and hypocritical, do you?


Your only argument about nutrition was regarding B12, for which the questionably trademarked product has 130% DV. Then you broaden your conclusion to somehow not addressing climate change?

So i'll address that one. The product is 98% soy with coconut, and sunflower oil to help it cook. Not particularly climate-intensive, soy is a valuable crop to rotate for the soil ecology in a country that produces so much corn to feed your dinner cows.


Just stepping in to mention that kombucha has enough B12 even for people who have an autoimmune disorder that interferes with absorbing B12.

It runs $2.50 - $3.50 / pint in grocery stores, but I make it at home for under $0.20.


As someone who eats a primarily vegan diet I find the vegan community to be insufferably toxic. I'm not talking about individuals but the community itself is just one big dick measuring contest about who is 'more vegan' and suffers more due to their devotion. I don't fault others for seeing how gross the community can be.


As another vegan, diet should have no bearing on this. It's a big company bullying a smaller one just because they can. The immorality of that doesn't depend on what you eat.

If it bothers you, let Impossible Meat know: https://faq.impossiblefoods.com/hc/en-us/requests/new


> But when you're one of the leading brands of a minority movement like veganism

Neither you nor impossible foods speak for the vegan movement. Most of my vegan friends do not eat this fake garbage nor would they ever make foolish claims like this.


Point taken that I and Impossible do not speak for the vegan movement. I think I could prove my point with a theoretical bet, however. Ask X amount of people from the overall general population to name the top 3 vegan brands, and I would take the wager that Impossible is in that top 3. Therefore they would be significantly identified with veganism at large.


Impossible might be identified with veganism at large, but the converse is not necessarily true. I think that there are just few enough vegan brands that I'm aware of that when thinking about veganism at large, brands are not really at the top of my mind.


First, lets separate 2 groups of people: 1. People that have a vegan diet. 2. People that actively defend veganism.

I have nothing against the group 1, but the prejudice you see, is because of group 2, I can say to you using rough napkin calculations that something like 95% of people I met in group two were total toxic assholes. Some examples of people I personally met:

1. Guy in school, kept telling me, CONSTANTLY, that I was eating corpses and whatnot, it was very annoying.

2. Another guy in school, told me I was evil because I ate meat, proceeded to rummage through my backpack and kick my belongings like if they were soccer balls (even screaming "goal" after he made my bible go between two chairs).

3. Chick I met in college, she asked me to become vegan, I told her I wouldn't and that I would keep eating bacon, her reaction was literally hit my head with her purse.

4. Various activist groups that did some insanely dumb shit where I live, one for example went to a research laboratory and freed all the animals, they took the cute animals (like beagles) home, and released the rest, without any notion if it was good idea or not to do so (several animals weren't native, and some were in the lab because they were being treated with experimental treatments for infectious diseases).

5. Random vegan I met online, dunno who that person is, I explained I have to eat meat due to a health condition, person then proceeded to tell me I should just die instead, that it was better for the planet for all people that need to eat meat to just die.


Why would a vegan ever eat impossible meat? They generally abstain from processed foods.


Why do people smoke cigarettes? Why do people drink soft drinks like coca cola which is full of sugars?

I mean whats the point of asking these? Being vegan doesn't mean you have to eat healthy food 24x7. They are normal human being following ethics. And there is no rule that tells vegan should abstain processed foods.


I've seen lots of vegans eat highly processed foods like nut milks and cheeses, tofu, and even impossible and beyond meats.


Commmercial setain and tofu are highly processed foods as well, and common vegan fare…


I tried it. It tasted too much like beef.


Black person here. I don't think (though I'm not going to say I'm 100% certain) that the word "prejudice" is best here?

You (very probably) made a choice to be a certain way, here. So, the "judice" part is correct, and people should perhaps be nicer, but this doesn't feel like the right word.


The word has nothing to do with whether you chose to be that way or not.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/prejudice


According to the dictionary, sure. What makes you think the "dictionary" is the end-all-be-all for how words work?


A victim complex is a common response when privileged people realize others find them insufferable.


A victim complex is a common response when anyone realizes others find them insufferable.


That’s an interesting argument when we are talking about blacks.


> Black person here.

No disrespect but what does being black have to do with the usage of the word prejudice? Because the parent you responded to used it correctly.


"Correctly" is weird, which is precisely why I tried state my point in a very non-conclusive way. Which went over like a lead balloon. :)


There's a lot of connotations to that word related to racism. I have no problem with the original commenter calling out that it may not be the best word to use.


> There's a lot of connotations to that word related to racism.

It's use is not exclusive to racism. To exclude other uses is ironically prejudiced.


“prejudice” has nothing to do with whether the prejudgement is based on an innate feature or a choice.


Isn't religion a choice? I know plenty of people who have converted and they weren't forced to convert. You can be prejudiced against someone else of a differnet religion.


Not purely. The meaning of "religion" varies greatly across both time and space, and it would be difficult to argue that it is always (or even often) something like "pure choice."

It frequently carries a cultural component such that the law sees fit to treat it like other arguably immutable identity type things, which seems correct to me. Though, it is complicated.


> The meaning of "religion" varies greatly across both time and space

Ok, I was kinda sorta with you until the second time you decided on the ‘flexibility of words’ defense… honestly, if you’d just gone with:

“using a charged term like prejudice to describe disagreement (even when distastefully communicated) over lifestyle choices dilutes the word, and minimizes what it means to someone who experiences true prejudice every day”

or something like that, I think you’d have gotten your point across without the downvotes and discussion.

But maybe that’s not what you meant, and maybe there would still be discussion because what I said ain’t necessarily true - it just sounds hard to argue with.


You say that like the downvotes and discussion are a bad thing; I'm under no illusion about how people are going to take it about half the time I bring up race.

Last I checked, I can't trade these hacker news points for cash and prizes. :)


Please don't ever stop. We need your voice here.


Thank you for the feedback. I understand your point.

I was going off a dictionary definition along these lines:

> preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

But I totally get that prejudice has connotations here that make it inappropriate for me as a white man to use


I cannot believe I am reading someone claim prejudice is a word that should not be used if you have a certain skin color.

Did the judicial system stop dismissing cases with prejudice?


Did the CIA stop terminating people "with extreme prejudice"?


Why is it inappropriate for a white man to use the word prejudice?

Isn't any sort of negatively biased opinion prejudice, regardless of what it's against be it gender, race, dietary choices, religion or anything else?


I was definitely not saying "white people shouldn't use it."

What I was saying is a little bit closer to - "Prejudice" connotes "identity" type issues, and I don't think 'veganism' is like that.

(Once again -- CONNOTES -- for all the dictionary lovers out there)


Absurd. Have you heard of "religious prejudice"? That's prejudice and based off of a choice.

Racial discrimination does not own the term prejudice.


Walgreens tried to pull this against one of ClearHealth's (Open source EMR system) trademarks. We prevailed but expect to spend $20k in legal fees and in TTAB court you could not recover fees (at that point in in time anyway).

https://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=92058521&pty=CAN


Wow, this deteriorates my view of impossible foods as the “good guys”.

I get that they want the brand, but that they apparently haven’t even attempted to buy it is pretty telling.


Remember that this is a countersuit to Impossible’s trademark suit against Impossible Foods. The company’s products were originally in separate product categories and should not have conflicted. Then Impossible brought out nutrition supplements which got closer to the food category. Yes, the logos probably look to much like each other though both are rather generic condensed bold sans-serif logotypes.


If the "later" impossible food succeeds in canceling the trademark, does that mean that any company can market their product as "impossible burgers"?


No, Impossible Food is suing to cancel Impossible HQ's trademark, and not their own. They want to be the only company allowed to use the "Impossible" branding, even though they weren't the first.


Actually it seems they are just trying to avoid being sued frivolously by a company that is making false claims about the trademark.


I'm sure their goal is to steal the trademark for their own exclusive use if they can swing that. Nullifying it so it is a generic term available to all would be worse for them than simply buying it from the rightful owners as they'd have to completely rebrand.


If their nutrition products and trademark pre-date Impossible Foods, Impossible Foods might be in some trouble. IANAL, but trademarks on actual words are first-come, first-served, and for a specific context. Apple Computer and Apple Records/Corps.: ok, no customer confusion. Apple Computer launches a product called iTunes and a service named Apple Music, it gets dicey.


Not really that simple. Nissan Motors spent nearly a decade dragging a guy with the last name of "Nissan" through trademark court battles over his prior existing company "Nissan Computers" which did and still does own the domains Nissan.com and Nissan.net. Ultimately Nissan Computers won and got a small amount back for attorney fees but claims it was less than 2% they spent defending their brand and mark (IIRC he did not have a federally registered trademark but a service mark from a state of something like that).


So it was that simple? The trademark of a non competing company in a different industry was not considered infringing by the courts?


Is there a summary of Impossible Foods’ position? Would be interesting to know why they think this is appropriate/lawful.


This is absolutely awful. Isn't this a textbook case of malicious suing, SLAPP?


No this is an ongoing attempt at theft. They don't want to be paid off they want his trademark even thought it's been granted for a decade and he is using it for an active business.


Be curious to know if anyone who has trademark legal knowledge can answer this question. Since the word Impossible is common, as far as I can gather, if it is for a different industry you indeed could use it?

edit: typo


Basically this just goes to show the way trademarks work is broken. One shouldn’t be able to trademark single words, or at the very least common ones.


Just because a word is trademarked doesn't mean that someone else can't use, or even trademark, the same word in a different line of business. I can't call my new OS "Windows". I probably won't be able to start a line of computer monitors called "Windows" either. But if I wanted to open a line of restaurants under the "Windows" brand I'd probably be fine. Trademarks are only enforceable when there's a danger of consumer confusion.


In theory yes, but when a litigious company has deeper pockets, being in the right doesn’t matter if one doesn’t have enough money to prove it.

Barring that type of one common word trademark would prevent some of those or make it cheaper to defend.

For instance backcountry online suing things like coffee shops called backcountry nitro coffee; outdoor safety clinics called backcountry babes that taught avalanche safety for women; and many more.

One word Generic terms in any field should explicitly not be trade-marketable.


This case is not so cut and dry.

It looks like ImpossibleHQ's trademarks had nothing to do with food until 2016 when they filed a trademark in the nutrition space

Impossible Foods was started before 2016, so it would seem to have priority in the food space.


That doesn't justify copying the logo. A million logos would work equally well for Impossible Foods without stomping on ImpossibleHQ.


Didn’t Nissan try something similar to a guy with a the last name Nissan and a computer company he named Nissan Computers? I wonder if he might have some recommendations to help fight this corporate bully.


Had a friend named Mike Rowe. We always thought he should start Mike Rowe Computers.


He wouldn't have been the first to make use of that name: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_v._MikeRoweSoft


From Wikipedia its kinda funny:

The case received international press attention following Microsoft's perceived heavy-handed approach to a 12th grade student's part-time web design business and the subsequent support that Rowe received from the online community. A settlement was eventually reached, with Rowe granting ownership of the domain to Microsoft in exchange for an Xbox and additional compensation.


Stay classy Impossible Foods


docket seems to be this: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/59791788/impossible-foo...

I'm interested in seeing Impossible Food's complaint. Anyone with PACER access want to download them and share/contribute them to courtlistener?


I just added it. Edit: also added the order to dismiss due to lack of personal jurisdiction and the trademark report document.


Why can't I upvote this?


Looks like they pretty blatantly copied the logo too, not a good look.


[flagged]


You set off a hellish flamewar with this generic comment about a classic flamewar topic. That's exactly what the site guidelines ask you not to do. If you'd please review them and not do this again, we'd appreciate it, especially because we've had to ask you this before.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29256118.


Everything I've seen suggests to me that most people's annoyance with perceived "preachy" vegans comes from cognitive dissonance around being forced to confront that vegans have a good point. Why confront real issues when you can make a bacon joke and say "oh, I could never give up cheese"?

It's like when talking with someone who is very disciplined about exercise. Many will say something like "wow you're so lucky to have such good genes" to deflect from the fact that they're just not willing to put in that level of work.

And I say that as someone who is not vegan, and is pretty lax with exercise.


> comes from cognitive dissonance around being forced to confront that vegans have a good point.

The problem on polarized issues is rarely "one side knows they have no good points and are just trying to avoid that the other side does". Really this mindset would be part of the preachyness problem in the first place, the idea that the only reason people don't like this side is they know this side is right so why aren't they just admitting it!

> Why confront real issues when you can make a bacon joke and say "oh, I could never give up cheese"?

I agree with this but probably in a different meaning than you meant. It's not by default "I don't want to deal with the consequences of their valid stance so I'll deflect until it goes away" it's a "I really don't want to deal with the religious guy handing out bibles when I'm just going to the café for a coffee, I'll just joke with him I couldn't live without <choice of sin here> every night instead of risking dealing with a surprise preachy interaction again". The interaction gave no hint of who actually had or knew they didn't have the right stance about religion.

> It's like when talking with someone who is very disciplined about exercise. Many will say something like "wow you're so lucky to have such good genes" to deflect from the fact that they're just not willing to put in that level of work.

In some situations like this example they probably know they aren't doing the right thing, in others (as given in the example above) that's not the case. That some topics are so is not evidence one way or another about another topic being so. The only common theme is that it was uncomfortable for the person deflecting, not the reason it was uncomfortable.


I do think it cuts both ways; veganism is extremely strange. The strangeness does not prove that it is good or bad -- but absolute veganism (as perhaps distinguishable from other historically popular, frequently religious diet practices) is wildly out of line with nearly all humans in all of human history -- and could reasonably appear to be overly simplistic.

So, I think the "vegans that are complained about" are nearly always the folks who don't much take this into account.


Conversely, it can easily be argued that it is paradoxical to normalize the slaughter and consumption of animals while simultaneously holding the belief that they should be protected (e.g. animal abuse laws).

Approaching how we life our lives primarily from an ethical lens can lead to all sorts of uncomfortable or strange conclusions, however.


Exactly, one day no human will consume meat. There are many reasons why but the popularity of it now stems from humans dealing with starvation--which we are still dealing with. If I have a variety of vegetables and grains I don't even think about meat. We are privileged to be able to not eat meat. It is something I give thanks for. We glorify it but the act of eating meat is not dignified. The time we can salvage any sort of dignity is by not killing the animal, not processing it, and eating only the parts that deemed worthy by our culture (the tender parts that chew easily).


"One day no human will consume meat."

If I had some time-travel-y way to bet my entire life savings against this prediction, I would.*

(*yeah, someone's going to get persnickety here. As long as humans are around, I believe some are going to eat meat.)


That statement is only supportable if vegans had a policy of annihilating meat-eating humans, which seems anathema to the vegan philosophy.

So maybe we can qualify that by saying "one day, no human will eat meat harvested from unethical or otherwise ecologically destructive livestock-farming practices."


most people's annoyance with perceived "preachy" vegans comes from cognitive dissonance

Let's consider other "preachy" sources to see if this argument holds weight.

Consider replacing "vegans" in this sentence with morally motivated religious evangelists of any kind, or morally motivated pro-/anti-abortion activists, or morally motivated homophobes, or MS/Apple/GNU fanboys/girls.

So no, it's not that people think the preachy group might have some kind of point, it's the preachiness, smugness, and righteous superiority itself that is the problem. The idea that this one group with such a narrow focus has discovered the one true superior way is what's the problem. It's counterproductive to whatever goals the group claims to represent. Moral guilt tripping is a lazy way to shortcut arguments.


What if no one is guilt tripping but the other side is just uncomfortable as hell with their own easy acceptance of the status quo?


How about "meat is murder"? You don't think that's guilt tripping? Or that it's actually an extremely aggressive thing to say that's likely to upset some people?


That right there is the textbook definition of guilt tripping. This line can be applied to literally every side of every argument. It has no content, no explanatory power, it's just another excuse for attempted manipulation.


Vegans do have a good point, however, for the majority of the population food is just something that they crave, eat for taste, or because it is thrust in their face daily by corporations. They aren't doing it for the sake of killing, and therefore the point that vegans make isn't something people consider nor care for.

I personally think your diet should be based on nutrition, with morals and the environment following a close second.


That's the rub, though - we know that vegetarian (including vegan) diets are nutritionally complete and applicable at virtually all stages of life [0], yet people make choices that result in hundreds of billions of animals being slaughtered each year. The cognitive dissonance that accompanies eating meat is extraordinarily pervasive [1].

0. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19562864/

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_eating_meat#Meat...


Why is there an ethical problem in slaughtering an animal for meat if that animal has been raised in good conditions and the actual killing happens with a minimum of pain and fear for the animal?

I get why foie gras is problematic, but I don't see the problem in a leg of lamb.


Have you seen the movie "The Island"? A organ supplier fakes a post apocalypse for the humans living in the bunkers. They still live a nice life and when they need organs they hold a lottery to see who gets to go to the surface where they've built a resort on an island as they supposedly repopulate.

These humans live fairly happy lives and were bred (cloned) to be harvested for the organs. Would you oppose the real world implementation of this system? The people could even not find out what happens to them, they could be gassed during the transit.

It really stems down to whether you think it's okay to kill living beings. I don't care too much for life forms smaller than 1cm and that's one of my biases, but I don't think it's okay to kill living beings larger than 1cm.

You could say that we are humans and those are non-human animals, therefore it's okay. I'm not a fan of this line of thinking because that is how caste systems work in societies that exploit different groups of people. They're of a lower caste so it's okay to treat them like dirt. They're of a different skin color so it's okay to treat them bad. It's okay to kill them.

If we discovered aliens, what would have to be different about them to make it not okay to raise them to be killed for our tastebud enjoyment? The ability to do calculus? Plenty of people can't do calculus. The ability to speak? We're still trying to learn how certain whales communicate or how crows seem to have a memory for previous bad actors /abusers in studies. We don't eat handicapped people nor people with severe mental problems. If it's not okay to farm humans, what about our predecessors? We have a common ancestor with other life forms on earth, so where do we draw the line? Bipedalism?


I would not be ok with such a dystopia.

However I don't think there's a clear line to be drawn. Why do most people object to eating dog or cat while they have no problem with pork? Pigs are about as intelligent as dogs (and can also learn to recognize individual humans).

Extrapolating that line of thought there is also no fundamental difference between eating plants and animals, but most people argue that it's morally wrong to kill animals for meat but ok to eat plants.


> Why do most people object to eating dog or cat while they have no problem with pork?

Cognitive dissonance, plain and simple. This was explained in the Wikipedia article I linked above.


> You could say that we are humans and those are non-human animals, therefore it's okay. I'm not a fan of this line of thinking because that is how caste systems work in societies that exploit different groups of people. They're of a lower caste so it's okay to treat them like dirt. They're of a different skin color so it's okay to treat them bad. It's okay to kill them.

I don't find this a super compelling reason not to eat meat because humans being a separate class than other animals is essentially a precondition to arguing that eating meat is immoral since plenty of other animals also eat meat. Applying a higher moral standard to humans compared to other animals is only reasonable if there is some sort of intrinsic intellectual capacity that we have but they lack. Once you open that door, there are still arguments to be made that eating meat is immoral, but the issue is much less clear cut, and I don't think it requires cognitive dissonance to come down on the other side.


> Why is there an ethical problem in slaughtering

In short, I think killing another living being that experiences suffering is wrong.

There needs to be at least a base agreement on some ethics before diving into an ethical debate, and if you don't see a problem with needlessly killing animals, then this exchange will be worthless.

Extend the reasoning of how we know it's wrong to raise and kill a human for our own consumption to animals, and we arrive at veganism. Please see my second citation in the parent comment for a better overview.


The Wikipedia article describes the various psychological mechanisms people use to avoid thinking about the fact that something they are doing involves something else getting killed. It does not provide arguments for why killing an animal for it's meat (or hide or other resource) is wrong.

A counterpoint to your 'raising humans for consumption' point which is equally extreme but in the opposite direction. How do you know plants do not feel suffering? After all studies show plants can sense surroundings and communicate with other plants even of other species.


It is commonly understood that plants do not have the same mechanisms to experience a range of emotions (pain, happiness, sadness, etc.) as fish, birds, and other animals do.

Further, if we want to abstract away from a mechanistic understanding and focus purely on a reduction of suffering, then veganism should be your goal. Most crop production is simply for animal feed. Eliminating animals from our diets would dramatically decrease the amount of plants we destroy.


>It is commonly understood that plants do not have the same mechanisms to experience a range of emotions (pain, happiness, sadness, etc.) as fish, birds, and other animals do.

Isn't this another form of the Meat Paradox, though? Plants have been shown to have moment to moment awareness of their surroundings, can communicate with each other and will turn away from unfavourable conditions. How can you definitively say that plants don't feel pain?


Even if plants feel suffering, fewer plants die from eating them directly than would if we had to pass their calories through an intermediary animal. It's closer to equivalent for chickens, but it's about an order of magnitude for cows.


If you grant that eating a plant causes suffering to that plant I don't see why the order of magnitude of the suffering or number of entities made to suffer matters.

Is it acceptable to inflict suffering on other beings to alleviate your own suffering or hunger?


> I don't see why the order of magnitude of the suffering or number of entities made to suffer matters

I absolutely disagree. Minimizing suffering is good. Less suffering is better than more suffering. The specifics of implementing it are obviously complicated, but if you don't agree that minimizing suffering is a good thing, at least in theory, then I don't know if we have any moral common ground.

> Is it acceptable to inflict suffering on other beings to alleviate your own suffering or hunger?

I assert that I have a right to attempt to continue my existence. Given that, and the above, I think it follows necessarily that it's better to cause less suffering in that pursuit, if possible (and it is).

Also, all of this is only entertaining the possibility that plants can suffer for the purpose of discussion. I think it's entirely obvious that they cannot experience suffering.


> In short, I think killing another living being that experiences suffering is wrong.

It fails Kant's categorical imperative. Animals aren't going to believe that eating meat is wrong - and if we tried to prevent animals from eating meat, we'd kill a lot of them - not to mention it'd just be ridiculous. There's simply no way to include animals in universal law and maintain reciprocity. It's an internally inconsistent ethical philosophy, and obviously so.

That's to say - people make fun of ethical vegans for the same reason they make fun of libertarians - clear gaps in the philosophy they refuse to acknowledge.


I don't agree that morals need to be reciprocated to be valid. It's not internally inconsistent to say I think it's immoral to kill things beings even if they wouldn't grant me or others the same.


Libertarians don't agree that the inability to protect the environment makes their philosophy invalid either. The fact is though, most people look for reciprocatity in their moral philosophy.

It's not that every individual has to agree not to kill you. It's that we have to agree that punishment is appropriate for killers. Getting specific - it's incoherent to say it's immoral for humans to kill rabbits but moral for foxes to kill rabbits. To have a consistent moral philosophy, you have to either punish the foxes and try to prevent them from killing the rabbits, or you have to admit that killing rabbits isn't _really_ a problem.


I'm not arguing that it's moral for foxes to kill rabbits. I'm arguing that the presence of immoral actors does not negate the arguments in favor of morality. Foxes aren't immoral, they're amoral. It's wrong for me to kill people even if natural disasters do. I can't have a moral discussion with a fox.


It still doesn't follow. It's wrong to kill because of the harm killing causes. Whether the killing is done my an immoral or amoral agent doesn't change the effect. If you really believe dead rabbits is a bad result, you ought be spending your time preventing the amoral agents from causing that bad result.

Consider an infant - an infant is basically an amoral agent - it doesn't understand killing. If a infant kills somebody with a gun, we don't say "oh well, he doesn't understand killing" - we say "why the heck did that baby have a gun? Where are his parents?" We expect moral agents to prevent amoral agents from causing harm. So why aren't you trying to prevent the foxes from killing the rabbits?


Am I obligated to personally intervene in every bad thing that happens in the world as a prerequisite for pointing out they're bad? Your argument seems to boil down to "you aren't trying to stop all instances of a category of bad thing, so your opposition to that category of bad thing is invalid", which is a pretty weird argument. I also think murder is wrong, but aside from personally not murdering, I don't do anything about murders happening in the world.


If foxes are amoral agents, why is it immoral to kill them?


I don't think that's an accurate representation of Kant's viewpoints; please see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative#Cruelty...

It's been many years since my collegiate philosophy course that focused on ethics in society - largely using Peter Singer's works as focal points of discussion - but could you try and reframe your idea? It doesn't seem like reciprocity has much bearing on this topic.


A nutritious vegan diet is not difficult. The hardest thing about it is that you mostly have to cook it yourself, since so many restaurants offer few (or no) vegan choices.

Fortunately, that's gradually improving. And it's a good idea for people to eat less restaurant meals if they're really interested in nutrition. It's hard to claim that nutrition is one's #1 priority when one is eating 1,500 or more calories per meal and few vegetables or whole grains.

Veganism isn't automatically nutritious. It can be, just as meat diets can be -- but most meat eaters don't. Either can be nutritious with planning and education.

As you say, your diet should absolutely start with nutrition. But given that you could eat nutritiously either way, you should indeed let your ethics guide you -- which includes both animal welfare and the environment as a whole.

But in particular, it'll be very hard to claim that nutrition is top priority if you're frequently eating Big Macs and never eating vegetables or grains.


I think this could be part of their reaction, but a bigger part is a natural inclination to belittle people who claim to have a moral High Ground or superiority.

In my experience, begin to frame things as a personal choice that they made without implying judgment on others simply don't get the same response


The end goal of the radical vegan moralists is to legally reshape my cuisine and the cuisine of the majority of people to match their preferences. Not all vegans share that view but often independently come very close to it or could still be swayed into a more radical world view.

Deflecting is a polite way of terminating a conversation that can otherwise get very ugly and end friendships and/or further entrench and radicalize the counter-party in the conversation; not a concession to the quality or lack thereof of their points. Or to put it another way, when someone suggests I try a vegan diet, my first instinct is respond in a respectful way with an understandable and relatable reason why I will not, not to hammer them in the face with the truth that I will continue to guiltlessly eat God’s creatures until the day I die and I will raise my kids the same way.


It seems like you're strawmanning and radicalizing our conversation here a bit by focusing on radical vegan moralists. As a vegan of 2 years I can tell you that a supermajority of the vegans I know would not endorse *legally* reshaping anyone's cuisine. The radical segment of any social movement is usually the minority. Your argumentation here seems similar to completely denouncing Christianity, Political Party XYZ, or even Silicon Valley because of its most radical segment.


Note that I gave no indication that they were more than a fringe and pointed out that they were not well representative of vegans as a whole. Radicals are by definition the fringe and don’t need additional qualifiers, particularly in a sentence that was loaded with them (vegan moralists are also not representative of vegans; many vegans are vegan for pure dietary reasons or personal preference).

My real point was this if you read past the first paragraph: if you care about politeness, keeping friendships and not hammering people in the face with what you actually think, you know, all the things that can further radicalize people, then deflection is the best course of action. This deflection should not be viewed as an implicit concession that somebody has a good point.


> Note that I gave no indication that they were more than a fringe

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you but your phrasing in the quote below seems to imply that most vegans are secretly aligned with or could be persuaded into become the radical moralists you mention earlier:

> Not all vegans share that view but often independently come very close to it or could still be swayed into a more radical world view

It's just strange to me that you're talking about radicalizing while seemingly using radicalizing debating tactics yourself. I'm sorry if that comes off as disrespectful or rude but that's the crux of my issue with your comment.

Edit: But I should also mention and acknowledge that I did read past the first paragraph in your original comment


Persuadables—non-aligned people without a strong position one way or another—are generally the largest subset of any group with an ideological element to it, and while the ideological component is severable from vegans individually, it is not severable from veganism as a movement.

This doesn’t mean they are secretly aligned, just that given the right circumstances, they could be persuaded to a more (again, more, not necessarily most!) radical position. Most people can, this isn’t limited to vegans nor does this apply strictly to veganism.

> It's just strange to me that you're talking about radicalizing while seemingly using radicalizing debating tactics yourself. I'm sorry if that comes off as disrespectful or rude but that's the crux of my issue with your comment.

Understandable. What it boils down to is I chose a tactic of advocating for a pretense while dropping all pretenses myself. Pretenses are inherently deceitful, but they can serve a good cause used appropriately, in this case maintaining basic social order. But by opening up my real thoughts underneath that pretense I was hoping to demonstrate why the pretense was in fact useful. Judging by the vote counter, I’ve seen it break even a few times today so that tells me it’s split down the middle how many people got that and how many people didn’t, so clearly I have room to improve too.


For sure. Morality is an important factor for many people turning vegan. Therefore a vegan company needs to have very admirable culture. I would request that you don't give us impossible [1] standards but in this case Impossible is acting indefensibly (if the situation is as clearcut as it currently seems).

I will also suggest however to watch out for confirmation bias regarding your idea of a typical vegan. 4 of my close friends are vegan and we all only share that information when it's necessary (e.g. about to eat with strangers) and none of us frequently pontificate about the morals with non-vegans either online or in-person. For every vocal vegan that you see, there may be many more quiet ones.

[1] No pun originally intended but now that I see it I totally intend my pun... https://knowyourmeme.com/photos/1409156-fire-emblem


> Will you concede that many, but certainly not all,

This comes across as harsh. Replace "many" with "some" and you'll get more people to agree with you.

There are instances of pontificating on both sides of the aisle.

TikTok blew up with "vegan teacher lady",

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoSPn_MEz-E

That caused a whole host of drama.

Anti-vegans (is that a thing?) are just as culpable though,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRd13bMWhsU

I wish we'd all just get along.


> Will you concede that many, but certainly not all, vegans bring it upon themselves with their moralistic pontificating about those who are not vegan?

"They deserved it" is rarely a good look. I imagine that just about any position one can imagine has its vocal and irritating proponents, so this response seems easy to generalise in ways that you probably wouldn't want.

(Because I recognise how this post looks, it's probably worth saying that I am not a vegan. Here in Texas, I actually had someone claim to me that he was a vegan because he ate only fish … but I still think that people expend far more energy on mocking vegans than they would just ignoring the occasional over-voluble vegan.)


No, this hasn’t been my experience for at least 10 years.


> moralistic pontificating

Jesus Christ.


That is some bullshit.


Well now I'm definitely not going to eat any of their gross fake meat.


This very much reinforces my scepticism and distrust towards this trend of branded so-called "meat-substitutes" and "plant-based cheeses" etc. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan but, if I were, I would simply eat vegetables, legumes, pasta, rice, bread, fruits, nuts, you name it. It's not so hard, it's just normal food that has always existed and has always been a part of my diet anyway.

People have eaten non-meat products since the dawn of history. For instance, meat was rare in the diets of the lower class of many societies, dairy products were only part of the diet of specific populations (e.g. Western Europe, Middle East, Masai, etc.), and the diet of some cultures has been vegetarian by principle from the start (the Jains of India). There are countless non-meat based recipes across all cultures, and preparing a meal without using meat, cheese or eggs is hardly rocket science — I often do it by accident without noticing.

So, is there really that much value in these industrial "plant-based" meat/cheese substitutes? I don't think so, but they're being marketed as if they were a great step forward to "reduce our dependence on meat" — a dependence which does not actually exist. All I see is disruptive processed-food businesses, trying to gain a market captive into their branded products thanks to the cultural Zeitgeist and it's focus on sustainability.

The fact that rice, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, cabbages and onions are mere commodities that people can choose based on each item's quality, price, and personal tastes from any supplier, to cook with them as they please is not convenient for the processed-food business. They need people to get used to depending on their own branded products, because how else would they "substitute meat" out from their diet? This new industry is hoping to get younger environmentally-conscious generations to understand that, to be sustainable, the normal thing is to eat Beyond Meat™, or Impossible Foods™, or whatever other brand competes in the market for their attention. God forbid people eat mere stir-fried vegetables, legume stews, rice, or a myriad other dishes they could cook themselves!

The greatest value of these companies is not in their technology to make "meat-substitutes". Rather, it is in getting customers to assume that they depend on their brand.


> This very much reinforces my skepticism and distrust towards this trend of branded so-called "meat-substitutes" and "plant-based cheeses" etc

And Microsoft suing MikeRoweSoft (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_v._MikeRoweSoft) reinforced my skepticism in "operating systems" and "word processors".

The legal matters of a single company are largely unrelated to the industry it operates within, and I don't think this particular data-point should have any bearing on how you think of imitation meat.

The Microsoft lawsuit made me think "microsoft is dumb, I'm glad I use linux". This lawsuit, I think reasonably, makes me think "Impossible foods might be a dumb company, might have a bad legal team etc... I'm glad I eat boca burgers instead".

> People have eaten non-meat products since the dawn of history ... So, is there really that much value in these industrial "plant-based" meat/cheese substitutes? ... The greatest value of these companies is not in their technology to make "meat-substitutes". Rather, it is in getting customers to assume that they depend on their brand.

Sure, fine. You can also substitute all of that with "We didn't use to have McDonalds. McDonalds has value by raising brand recognition. We really don't need it though because people can just go home and bake their own bread"

I don't think you're making a point specific to the meat substitute industry here, nor is it really an actionable point. We do live in a society. Companies and brand names do exist. People do have different eating habits and expectations than we did 1000 years ago. What's the point?


> So, is there really that much value in these industrial "plant-based" meat/cheese substitutes?

Yes. There are many people who strongly believe "if there is no meat, it's not a meal". The only thing that is going to change their mind is something that looks and tastes like meat for a lower price.


Just ignore all their change-the-world marketing hogwash. The fake meats and cheeses are still occasionally useful, just because they're convenient and somewhat tasty, even if they don't taste like the real deal.

"Edible food-like substances" (to steal a term from Michael Pollan) have their place in a society all too obsessed with convenience and time efficiency. I don't think they should ever be a replacement for whole foods and basic staples, but they are a nice and easy way to add flavor to an otherwise bland vegan meal.

Yes, whole foods are healthier, and you can make a nutritionally balanced, delicious vegan meal out of basic grains and legumes and greens and whatnot... but it's a hell lot of work, especially because most of that stuff tastes like nothing.

For omnivores, adding meat to just about anything helps a lot with flavor, between the meat itself and the juices/fats flowing from it. But adding tofu or beans doesn't really add much flavor beyond a little bit of umami. You really have to season or sauce the hell out of every meal to make it taste good. And after a while, everything tastes kinda same-y... more nutritional yeast, more soy sauce, more curry, some generic beige protein, blah blah.

As someone who went vegan starting with whole foods yet never becoming a good enough cook, the fake stuff is in fact a really nice way to change up otherwise boring meals after a few years.

They're still made of grains and legumes and such, but the seasoning is done by Someone Else™ who's much better at it. Yeah, it's less healthy, but...


> meat was rare in the diets of the lower class of many societies

yeah, and the lower class was unhealthy and malnourished


>So, is there really that much value in these industrial "plant-based" meat/cheese substitutes? I don't think so, but they're being marketed as if they were a great step forward to "reduce our dependence on meat" — a dependence which does not actually exist.

you're vastly underestimating how much people like the taste of meat. there's a reason why countries up their meat consumption as they industrialize and get wealthier.


No. They are highly processed and they generally taste like garbage. For months I was told about how great Miyoko's products were. Then I tasted some of the cheese offerings and they tasted like gritty mold. There was a Kite Hill Farms vegan blueberry yogurt that was delicious, but the peach version nearly made me lose my lunch.


Cheese and yogurt are not meat, though? I agree vegan cheese is terrible, and the faux-meat products aren't an exact replica, but they aren't bad.

There's definitely less of a push for a general adoption of vegan cheese than there is for meat alternatives.


Vegan chicken tastes like a gross sponge and vegan beef patties aren't really much better. The mouthfeel is way off to the point where it isn't even an uncanny valley thing.


I agree with you to some degree, but I don't feel like you're winning anyone over with the "I'm not X but if I were, I would just..."

I've been vegan for 6 years now, and vegetarian many years before that, and sure, usually I just cook foods that pull from cuisines that aren't heavy on meat, eggs, and dairy. Lots of great curries and stir fries and so forth to choose from.

But sometimes you just need a stupid thing that looks vaguely burger-shaped because your family/friends/coworkers are having a BBQ event and you need to bring something they can throw on the grill because you know they're not going to think about it and you don't want to have everyone poking fun with their lame jokes when you ask them to put the stuffed pepper with rice and beans on the grill for a few minutes. Sometimes you just want to blend in because Todd from accounting is fucking annoying any time he sees you eating something in the break room that's not a ribeye steak or whatever the hell he thinks his cavemen ancestors ate. And sometimes you just want sloppy, greasy comfort food that is absolutely shitty in terms of health but tastes delicious. And sometimes you're just sick of cooking for yourself AGAIN because why the hell aren't there any vegan options at the restaurants near me and goddammit I'm just going to pull those burgers out of the freezer.

I don't think you'll find too many vegetarians and vegans for whom faux meat options are an everyday thing. It depends on what options are available around you, and maybe if you have kids who won't eat anything other than chicken nuggets and hot dogs. But for the most part...it's just nice to have them there when we want them. And to the extent we can also show people "hey, there are foods that look a lot like foods you're already used to, so Todd will also leave YOU alone!" that's great too. So there's value to these products. Sure, not as much as these "disruptive" businesses are trying to imply, but....there's still value.


Meh, let’s not conflate the plant based cheese side of things with the meat substitute market.

A decent quality plant based cheese is closer in texture to hummus and is literally, mostly, ground up nuts - you can make it at home in your blender if you want to.

If you’re talking processed American cheese style… that game is probably lost the minute you choose to eat processed American cheese.


>It's not so hard, it's just normal food that has always existed and has always been a part of my diet anyway.

It is quite hard for those of us who cut our teeth on processed food, where teams of food scientists have tweaked the formula to create the most crave able version of every food. That's why these meat substitutes are quite appealing.


Modern meat substitutes exist because texture is a huge part of eating and also people tend to go with the cuisine they're familiar with. Stocking a kitchen for the first time to cook Indian food is also a bit pricy. There are a lot of spices that you need to buy if you want to do it right, and they aren't cheap.


They aren’t cheap because you’re not buying them at an ethnic store.


Nobody is selling tiny bottles of spices at the ethnic store. They tend to sell in bulk, so you're really not saving much if you want to have the ingredients to make the dishes.


I see fake meat companies as filling a need among people trying a meatless fad diet. The primary market being young women who want to fit in with a group that has a number of obnoxiously vocal vegans.




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