Bloomberg Businessweek

Where’s the Beef?

At the Vegetarian Butcher in The Hague, none of the “meat” on display is what it seems.
Vegan tacos al pastor from the Vegetarian Butcher

It was chicken thigh, guessed Ferran Adrià. Probably organic or free-range and definitely from the south of France. The legendary El Bulli chef was sampling some mystery meat cooked by a Dutch friend in 2011, trying to figure out what it was. The dish was delicious; the texture of the protein marked its quality.

Only it wasn’t meat. Adrià was the victim of a kitchen prank—his taste buds had conned him into believing he was eating poultry. In fact, it was a spiced all-soy confection that’s one of the signature products of Holland’s waggishly named Vegetarian Butcher. (Well, De Vegetarische Slager in Dutch.)

The eight-year-old company produces more than 40 meatlike products. But everything, from smoked sausages to skewers, tenders to mince, is 100 percent vegetarian. With 70 employees, distribution in 70 countries, and a gross profit of €25 million ($29 million) last year,

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