Aug 23, 2022 - Food and Drink

Take "meat" out of the ball game

Photo of nachos in a baseball helmet.
A nacho helmet with plant-based chicken. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

👋 Hey, it's Monica. I've been trying to eat less meat for a while, so I was thrilled to hear that Wrigley Field expanded plant-based versions of popular snacks in late July.

Driving the news: OZO Foods (owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS) just inked a three-year deal to become the "official plant-based food choice of the Chicago Cubs."

  • But is this stuff any good? I went to the Cubs-Brewers game on Saturday to see.
Photo of two hot dogs on wax paper.
Veggie dogs at Wrigley Field Saturday looked like they'd spent too much time under a heat lamp. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

The dishes: Nachos (both helmet and regular) with OZO "chicken strips" and "ground beef," veggie dogs and planterra burgers — all at the same price of their meaty counterparts.

The ingredients: OZO products are made from a blend that includes non-GMO pea protein, soy protein, rice, wheat gluten and fermented shiitake mushrooms.

The verdict: Despite the shriveled look of the weenies, the dogs offered a surprisingly nice bounce and taste, albeit when covered in traditional Chicago hot dog toppings.

  • The faux ground beef and chicken in my nacho helmet was so covered in other stuff that its flavor was hard to distinguish. But the texture was good.
  • I didn't love the aftertaste and texture of the planterra burger, which required a long-ish custom preparation, compared with other burgers on the menu.

The bottom line: The weird looks and long waits I encountered while ordering these items at Wrigley tell me concession staffers (and visitors) may need more time to get used to these vegetarian-friendly options.

Of note: After I finished my tasting, I learned that the veggie dog is not made by OZO, but instead by Beyond Meat.

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