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Journalist blasts famous food brand for broken promises and deceptive marketing: ‘Feels like a punch in the gut’

“There is no accountability.”

Epicurious is still doing a lot to push food culture

Photo Credit: iStock

Journalist Emily Atkin recently called out Epicurious on X, formerly known as Twitter, for continuing to post recipes using beef after making a high-profile pledge in 2021 to cut out that ingredient.

Meat products, especially beef, have become controversial because of the environmental effects of animal agriculture. While defenders say eco-friendly meat consumption is possible, our current agriculture industry causes significant pollution that fills the air with heat-trapping gas that raises the temperature of the Earth.

Meanwhile, cattle farmers have destroyed large portions of the Amazon, a practice that Brazil’s new president is just beginning to curb.

Researchers are hard at work developing lab-grown meat and meat alternatives, but it is taking a while for the market to catch up.

According to Atkin, Epicurious’s climate pledge had the potential to speed up that shift. “The purpose of the no-beef promise was ‘to brand Epicurious as a sustainable site and push food media to follow,’” she said in her X thread. “That’s why I’d praised the pledge — for its potential to change food culture.”

However, Atkin said that no other sites have picked up the pledge. She also quoted David Tamarkin, the former Epicurious employee who wrote the pledge, as saying it “has not had the impact that I hoped it would.”

“I see beef on recipe sites, on my apps, in my emails,” Tamarkin said. “After these very hot days [and] smoky weeks, it sort of feels like a punch in the gut.”

Epicurious hasn’t even met the standards set. According to Atkin, “since 2021, Epicurious hasn’t written a single new beef recipe. The bad news: Epicurious is still publishing new beef recipes — specifically, 61 beef recipes since its climate pledge.”

According to Atkin, Epicurious’s parent company, Condé Nast, pushed through the recipes, which came from sister publication Bon Appetit. Apparently, Tamarkin had been specifically promised that wouldn’t happen. Atkin said that she contacted both Epicurious and Condé Nast for comment but received no reply.

Still, Atkin approved of Epicurious’ mission. “Epicurious is still doing a lot to push food culture to be more plant-based, and it sucks that Condé Nast appears to be undermining their credibility,” she said.

According to Atkin, the broader problem is “high-profile voluntary corporate climate promises.” She explained, “The press they get often results in a false sense of security, and there is no accountability when they don’t come to fruition.”

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