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PETA Honors St. Louis' Match Meats

petaproggy.jpgMatch Meats, a St. Louis-based company specializing in vegan meat alternatives, received national kudos this week. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) named Match Meats "Best Food-Service Innovation" in its sixth annual Proggy Awards. The Proggies honor businesses, products and individuals that show a strong commitment to animal rights.

In a January 13 press release, PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said, "Not only are Match Meats' faux meats healthy and humane, they are also tasty enough to satisfy diehard meat-eaters."

When I spoke with Match Meats president Allison Burgess yesterday, she told me she's thrilled with the award. "PETA has gained a lot of influence over several segments of industry -- including food -- so to get their backing is a pretty significant honor."

Match's high-protein, zero-cholesterol alternatives to pork, chicken, beef, sausage and crab are quickly gaining popularity -- thanks to the company's reputation for high-quality products. "Our company started with the help of some very kind and forward-thinking chefs, who helped me develop the texture so that it would feel and taste like meat," Burgess explains.

St. Louis chefs who offered Burgess their guidance include Bill Cardwell (Cardwell's at the Plaza and BC's Kitchen), Ivy Magruder (Vin de Set), Dave Owens (formerly of Terrene) and Jim Voss (Duff's Restaurant). While Match Meats were originally sold exclusively to restaurants, St. Louisans can now find the products at Whole Foods, Dierbergs and the Natural Way.

Just hours after PETA's announcement, requests started pouring in from around the nation. Burgess plans to meet the growing interest in Match products by expanding the cooking-demonstration and recipe sections of the company's Web site. She and her executive chef, Freddie Holland, are also working on creating a gluten-free meat alternative -- proving that Match Meats is committed to the type of cruelty-free innovation that so impressed PETA.

Image: www.peta.org

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