One step beyond burger

The second part of our interview with Lord Of The Fries’ Bruce Craig.

Mock meat may not be for me, but it’s hugely useful for the legions of humans who have been deeply conditioned by their parents to adore the taste and texture of animal flesh but want to transition to eating a more environmentally sustainable and ethical food source. There have been questions lately about the origin and efficacy of mock meat, however, so it’s great to be assured that all Lord Of The Fries products are carefully sourced.

“We don’t uses any of the Chinese mock meats because a lot of them have chemicals in them that we’ve never heard of,” says Bruce Craig, New Zealand owner of Lord Of The Fries. “Not that they’re necessarily bad, but we try to keep it as pure as we can for the taste and consistency we need. Ours are all either made by us or made by a couple of big companies, one in South Africa and one in Canada. The South African one makes the hot dogs and that’s a fries factory. And Lord Of The Fries patties are made by a Melbourne vegan company that have been supplying LOTF since it opened.”

Bruce is clear about what LOTF is not, however, and that’s health food. “We’re doing it by stealth if you like, we’re not trying to change people’s eating habits, we’re just trying to offer them the same comfort foods but from a plant-based source. Obviously there are lots of places that do amazing raw and healthy food. I just call our food ‘healthier’, because it’s healthier than going to get a McDonald’s burger or a beef and cheeseburger, and there’s no GMs or dodgy chemicals. I think that the key is... part of our ethos is that it’s comfort food, and it’s plant-based comfort food, but it’s still not... don’t live off it every day! You’re going to get fat!”

Then there’s their optional Beyond Burger with its very realistic-looking patty that, while it doesn’t actually drip ‘blood’ like the infamous American Impossible Burger, does manage to exude a pinkish colour (apparently derived from beetroots). I tried one and it was so meaty that I almost gagged.

For Bruce, LOTF presents a challenge to New Zealand meat-and-milk-based agriculture: “Veganism is something we believe in, and as a country and a world if we don’t transition to plant-based proteins we’re going to be screwed, and I want to do my part and this is a good way to do it. And what we’ve proved is that we just can’t produce enough protein out of animal husbandry to feed everyone. I think over the next five or 10 years New Zealand should look very strongly at what we’re doing with our primary agriculture, because we can’t just keep going. Even dairy should change to plant-based milks.” (GARY STEEL)

Gary Steel is an Auckland-based journalist who runs online vegetarian resource

He can be contacted via