In engineering, an old joke goes that customers want cheap, accurate, and fast - but can only have two of those.

Business is about compromise. In food, the USDA says all farmers are farmers so they turn a blind eye to the sleazy marketing tactics of the organic segment, like paying trade groups to defame conventional food and scientists who defend agriculture while the companies themselves make advertising catering to the whitest, richest people imaginable.

Yet their customers already hate science, they think everything is a conspiracy by Monsanto, Exxon, or someone named Sackler. It does no harm to promote conspiracy theories and feel-good fallacies among True Believers. Yet it's bad if you want to appeal to normal people.

The marketing you should be using. This looks a lot like prosciutto. Ignore wacky claims by organic food activists like Marion Nestle, the 'list of ingredients' for her clients would be as long as anything in science, except trade groups keep them exempted from labeling requirements.

Alternative meat is in crisis and while some try to argue it's because they want to be too much like meat, inviting comparisons, their marketing is the opposite. Here is a list of casual, real-world stuff from alternative meat companies and their trade groups.

"Conventional meat has a devastating impact on the environment, animal welfare and human health"

"livestock farming has a devastating effect on the environment – including greenhouse gas emissions, polluted ecosystems and lost biodiversity. It raises significant issues around animal welfare and health security – including infectious diseases."

"there is a general consumer trend towards more ethical choices"

This alienates all ranchers, all of the science-literate public, and a giant chunk of consumers who don't like being shamed if they choose not to make your corporation rich. Even crazier, they are alienating each other.

Alternative meat is too busy attacking everyone, including itself, to succeed. Here, a plant-based "meat" group ignores that there is no such thing as plant-based meat to suggest there is "fake" meat because it is actual meat but not growing a whole chicken to get breasts and legs. It is incredibly stupid.

If there really is a consumers trend 'toward' your product, your sector wouldn't be contracting so heavily. I am a fan of Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger, I think they are clever instances of applied science and I am all for lab grown meat. Because I think meat is meat.

Yet the ethical posturing of most companies in that segment annoys me, because I can see the mistakes they are making. I am inside enough to know they are marketing mistakes but the general public only sees them as insulting and hypocritical and it turns them off.

Meanwhile, environmentalists are opposed to all science. So this kind of positioning annoys meat eaters - the market you want - and the science community that isn't off with Marion Nestle in white-woman-buying-organic-food lala land. Meanwhile, activists who hate meat and pretend to accept climate change because it's a doomsday fundraising narrative hate the product because it's science.

You are boxing yourself into a tiny niche marketplace at a time when your product needs to be more expensive while you grow. Appeal to taste, appeal to "WOW" factor, because the science is cool, but stop telling the public your competitors are ruining the world and only by making you wealthy will they save Gaia. It sure hasn't worked for organic food or solar power, ask those starving in Sri Lanka or people freezing in Germany what they now think about those alternatives, and it will not work for alternative meat.