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Plant-based burgers are all the rage in 2020, but meat substitutes date back to at least 965. Will we ever invent the perfect proxy – or should we forget about meat altogether?

Another year, another skirmish in the culture war. The launch of Greggs’ latest offering, a plant-based steak bake, has revived the kerfuffle that surrounded the bakery chain’s vegan sausage roll. Amid a flurry of hot takes and taste tests, up popped Piers Morgan to complain: “A ‘meatless’ steak is not a bloody steak.”

Meanwhile, some vegans have been complaining about KFC and Burger King adding plant-based burgers to their menus. One animal rights activist told the Guardian last week: “They’re trying to buy us off with these products, and pretending they’re our friends.” Happy Veganuary, everyone.

Related: ‘Most realistic’ plant-based steak revealed

Related: The Quorn revolution: the rise of ultra-processed fake meat

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