Early last year, the world saw one of the most exciting and innovative entrances in the food industry- Plant-based meats. They are also known as imitation meats or mock meats or cell-based meats and are essentially an alternative to real meat. In plant-based meats, the protein is extracted from one plant and then combined with other plant-based ingredients to make the final product taste as ‘meaty’ as possible. It’s only been one year of plant-based meats and the meatless alternatives have already threatened to eat into the traditional meat market by 10%.
According to the New York Times, the idea of introducing plant-based meats was first discussed in 1971 in the book “diet for a small plant” by Frances Moore Lappé. However, that idea did not receive much attention back then as it has today.
Over the last five to seven years, we have seen an increase in the number of people who have converted to veganism or vegetarianism. This shift is mainly attributed to two reasons:
- The negative impacts of animal agriculture on climate change.
- Adverse health effects of red meat.
A study in 2017 found that the top three meat producers together emitted more greenhouse gases than the country of France did in the year 2016. That’s just abysmal.
So, how are these alternative meats actually made?
There isn’t one specific way to create or formulate mock meat. Every company/manufacturer makes it in their own way with chosen ingredients basis the meat they wish to mock.
Although, here’s a quick overview of the process. Most faux red meat products contain soybeans and textured vegetable protein (TVP) powder. The texture plays a very important role in making imitation meat believable. Soybeans aren’t the only way to create faux meat products. Some mock meat is also made from wheat gluten, which has a stretchy texture and is easier to modify to resemble the chewiness of the meat. For other types of meats, it is much easier – eg: bacon is made from coconut flakes!
The entire plant-based meat movement began in the United States and the rest of the world openly accepted this change.
This revolution and transformation in the food industry definitely has a few positive health and environmental benefits.
Healthwise, the plant-based protein is healthier than animal-based meat and also contains fewer calories, fat, and cholesterol. Overall, it’s said to have a reduced risk of contracting the disease and offer improved well-being. It helps with health problems like:
- Heart Diseases
- Type 2 diabetes
- High Blood Pressure
As for the environment, plant-based meats are a better option because you’re being aware of the current state and preventing it from getting worse. This is how plant-based meats helps with the environment:
- Climate Change
- Decrease in waste of resources
- Reduction in the number of animals harmed
Together, let’s adopt, evolve and strive towards a better future. Let’s make more informed choices, let’s COEXIST!