Millennials have been blamed for “killing” many things, such as cereal, the starter home, and motorcycles. According to Axios, a new item is now on the hit list — the good old-fashioned, American fast food staple, the hamburger.
The statement that millennials are killing hamburgers came on the heel of the news that McDonald’s will join other fast food restaurants like Burger King and Carl’s Jr. in serving plant-based burgers, named the “Big Vegan TS.”
George Motz, one of the world’s premier hamburger experts, has lamented the rise of lab-grown hamburgers.
“If the next generation embraces these 100%, we will lose a sense of what a real burger should be. They are getting away from the real thing. Americans are intensely proud of their hamburger heritage. Now we have invented the fake hamburger.”
In 1976, during the heyday of the hamburger, Americans were consuming 94.1 pounds of beef per capita per year. The number has fallen steadily, and now is nearly half at 57.3 pounds, according to the National Chicken Council.
The hamburger has its roots in the mass influx of German immigrants in the mid-1800s. A common dish in Germany at the time was chopped meat on a plate, served with gravy. This popular German staple soon got an American twist when people started serving it between two slices of bread and given the name of Hamburg Steak.
Motz argues that this strong heritage should link Americans to a love of hamburgers.
“Americans are intensely proud of their hamburger heritage,” he continued. “It’s one of the only American food inventions in the last 100 years. Now we have invented the fake hamburger.”
The comfort food favorite is still incredibly popular and can be seen on almost all restaurant menus across the country. However, many younger people are eschewing red meat for a variety of reasons.
One reason is for health, as many studies have shown the benefits of a plant-based diet. In fact, even mega-celebrity Kim Kardashian has gushed about how she avoids meat and dairy when in her own home, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Former president Bill Clinton is another famous figure who has extolled the virtues of veganism.
A second reason is for the vegan trend is a belief in better animal welfare. The rise of commercialization has led to huge meat factories that often subject animals to inhumane conditions.
Finally, ecological reasons have also led people to avoid red meat. Cows are a huge source of methane creation, and many who have abandoned burgers and steak hope that less demand will lead to lower emissions of the greenhouse gas.
However, Motz is optimistic that nostalgia for the classic American staple will keep the hamburger around for years to come, even if less popular than in times of yore.
“Millennials require not just food but a story behind it. They have to have context,” he said.