This Strange-Looking Vegetable Is Actually … Meat?

updated Jun 27, 2019
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Credit: Arby's

There’s no easy way to say this: Those photos you may have seen of an odd-looking carrot floating around the internet aren’t actually of a carrot. The “carrot” in question is made from meat — meat dyed and then molded into a carrot shape, made specifically to trick you. It’s been dubbed the “marrot.”

If you already stumbled across the photos you probably noticed something was a little off: The carrot is a little too glossy, almost wet and squishy looking, to be the real deal. The mastermind behind this bizarre prank is Arby’s — the latest in a long line of fast-food brands to resort to gimmicks for attention. 

Arby’s head chef Neville Craw made the marrot from turkey. According to a press release from the company, Craw “cut a whole turkey breast into the shape of a carrot, sous vide the meat for one hour, then rolled it in a special carrot marinade and a brûlée with maple syrup powder. He then oven roasted the carrot-shaped turkey for an additional hour before topping it off with a fresh sprig of parsley to give it the full carrot effect.” Apparently it contains 30 grams of protein, which is remarkable all on its own. 

So now you know the how. What about the why? So much effort was expended on an unappetizing-looking food product that Arby’s has no (current) plans to release to the public. Is Arby’s trolling vegetarians? Is it trying to capitalize on the attention that Beyond Meat and the Impossible Burger have been getting for fake beef? Or is this just one big joke? Probably a combination of all of the above. 

“Plant-based meats are the latest incarnation of making vegetables look like what Americans really want, which is great, tasty meat,” Jim Taylor, chief marketing officer for Arby’s, said in a statement. 

Seems like Arby’s is thinking it’s so clever right now, but at least plant-based burgers serve a purpose by being both environmentally friendly and health-conscious. I’m not convinced either of those admirable goals really deserve a supposedly humorous send-up from a fast-food corporation. Meanwhile, the marrot, while semi-interesting to look at, is kind of a waste of resources.

Would you try the marrot? I might be willing to venture a taste for novelty’s sake, but if I want turkey and carrots, I’m just going to eat real turkey and carrots and skip the gimmicks.