Arby's Has Made a Carrot Out of Meat

© Arby's. Arby's

The 'marrot' is a bad joke that shows how out of touch with reality the fast food chain is.

While the rest of the world embraces plant-based meats, American fast food chain Arby's is stubbornly going in the opposite direction. Not only is it sticking to its motto, "We have the meats" (new as of 2014), and stating that it will never sell 'fake' meats like the Impossible or Beyond burgers, it has now created a carrot... made out of meat.

Dubbed the 'marrot,' this carrot-looking thing is made from a slice of turkey breast cooked sous-vide, rolled in carrot powder, and roasted in the oven. A leafy green parsley sprig finishes the look for a not-quite-convincing replica.

In the words of Arby's chief marketing officer, Jim Taylor, as told to Fast Company,

"People love meat already. What Americans have a harder time doing is enjoying vegetables. So we said, ‘If they can make meat out of vegetables, why can’t we make vegetables out of meat?’ We’re going to introduce to the world a category we call ‘megetables’ — we’ve applied for trademark. Our first vegetable is going to be the marrot."

So far the marrot only exists in Arby's test kitchens, but the company says it hopes to bring it to stores for a limited time, based on customer response. "The company said it has a few ideas about what's next [in the 'megetables' line] but is yet to pursue a prototype like the marrot" (via USA Today).

While the innovation behind the marrot's creation is impressive, it seems like an oddly retaliatory act – one that appears deeply out of touch with the direction in which we as a (meat-eating) society need to move. We know now that animal agriculture is responsible for a significant portion of greenhouse gas emissions, and that reducing meat intake is the single most effective step a person can take to minimize their carbon footprint.

Hence the rise in popularity of plant-based meats, which should not be viewed as such a threat. If anything, serving plant-based meats demonstrates a restaurant's relevance, awareness, and willingness to accommodate diverse lifestyles.

I don't think the test kitchen understands food preferences and the training of one's palate, either. Arby's executive chef Neville Craw told USA Today,

"It's kind of a way of creating something for people who like proteins more than liking vegetables to ease into the vegetable community and kind of enjoy vegetables without having to eat them."

This is a head-scratcher of a statement if I've ever heard one. Never before, in all my years of teaching children how to eat their vegetables, have I thought of using meat to do so. I think Craw is totally out to lunch if he thinks the marrot can convert carrot-haters to carrot-lovers – and that a meat carrot can offer the nutritional benefits that a real carrot does.

I'm not quite sure what Arby's is trying to accomplish here, other than make itself look woefully behind the times.