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Jargon: A look inside the lingo of the plant-based diet industry

Welcome to another episode of Jargon, the new show from Digital Trends that deciphers the complex jargon of various industries into words and concepts the rest of us understand. We’re live each week on Tuesdays with a different set of jargon from a different industry.

On today’s show, host Myq Kaplan digs into the jargon of the plant-based diet industry. Joined by Will Schafer, vice president of marketing at Beyond Meat, Kaplan walks us through the terms and technologies of this somewhat new, but rapidly expanding, movement.

Terms discussed on today’s show:

  • Textured Vegetable Protein – TVP, as it’s called, is “an old technology,” Schafer notes. Comparing it to today’s technology “is like comparing a landline to an iPhone.” Basically, TVP is “taking plant matter and ‘roughing it up’ to make it more like meat” in its texture, Schafer says. But Beyond Meat is pioneering new technologies that “rearrange the actual structure of the plants to be more like animal protein,” which leads to taste and textures that are more like meat.
  • Macrobiotic – More an “ism” than an actual diet, the term “macrobiotic” is used as a global term for a movement that “attempts to balance the body, reduce animal use, and promote buying local.” While those are good things, Schafer says, Beyond Meat isn’t trying to get people to subscribe to any sort “ism” or “atarian” philosophy; he says they’re just working to provide delicious products.
  • Vegan – Veganism refers to a person’s desire to avoid “any animal-derived products,” whether that be in their food, or in clothing, such as leather. It differs from “vegetarian” in that vegans also avoid animal byproducts such as eggs or milk.
  • Leguminosae – Commonly known as legumes, peas, or the bean family, leguminosae refers to the types of plant materials used for protein in plant-based products. Historically, soy has been the most widely used, but now other plants are finding their place in the sun.
  • Soy vs. Other Vegetable Proteins – “Soy is great, but we like to follow what consumers want, and many aren’t crazy about soy,” Schafer says. The nutritional profiles of soy are wonderful, he notes, but consumers have shown disinterest in the traditional soy products, which is why Beyond Meat is pioneering the use of plants other than soy for their proteins.

On next week’s episode, we’re going to credit your knowledge bank with the jargon of small business and personal accounting.

For past episodes of Jargon, go to

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